MONEY salary negotiation

The Secret Formula that Will Set You Apart in a Salary Negotiation

pharmacist pulling bottles off the shelves of apothecary
INSADCO Photography—Alamy

Use this one sentence to prove your worth, says SalaryTutor.com's Jim Hopkinson.

This is the sixth in a series of six posts on salary negotiation published in partnership with PayScale.com.

If you’ve ever been told, “We’re sorry, we really liked you and it was a very difficult decision, but we ended up going with a slightly more qualified candidate,” you know that it’s not a great feeling. You can drive yourself crazy wondering, “What did the winning job-seeker say or do to gain that slight edge over me to land the job?”

Or perhaps you did manage to beat out every other candidate and receive an offer, but weren’t able to negotiate the salary that you wanted. What could you have said to earn what you truly deserve?

Fortunately, there’s a simple framework and phrase to keep in mind that might give you the extra edge you need. Not only will you distinguish yourself from the competition when looking for a job, but you’ll also be able to negotiate a higher salary when you get the offer or ask for a raise.

In fact, I just demonstrated it in the last paragraph!

The framework is: Not only this… but that…

If you were to write it out as a formula, it might look like this:

“Not only do I have [all the standard requirements that everyone else has] + but I also possess [the following unique traits that make me a better candidate and worth more money].”

Let’s look at a few examples…

In some cases, you don’t even need an extra skill, you just have to show up. If you sense that a company is in a massive rush and has had a difficult time filling a position, or others are giving them the run around in terms of start dates, you might simply say, “Not only do I have the skills necessary for this job, but since I won’t require any training, I can hit the ground running, make an immediate impact, and start tomorrow.”

To be most effective, however, you’re going to want to cultivate and mention unique, valuable, and complementary skills.

So if you know that the company you’re working for is looking to expand internationally, and they offer you a starting salary of $70,000, you might reply, “I appreciate that generous offer. However, since I’ll be coming into this position not only with proven marketing and team-building skills, but also as a multi-lingual manager with experience building out teams internationally, I was seeking a salary closer to the $80,000 range.” If the hiring manager knows that this will be an asset in the future, or saves the time and cost to train a similar manager in language skills, you’re likely to get that additional salary.

I once worked with a client that received a five figure increase from a single email exchange. The position was at a prestigious art museum and there was a lot of competition for the job. At this level, every candidate was extremely well educated, had extensive experience working in museums, and a passion for the arts.

During her interview, she had noted that the executive director was charged with building out something new and exciting. Not only did she land the offer, but she used that language to bump her salary $11,000 by saying, “Since I will be bringing not only curation and management skills from the art world, but also have the experience you desire in building a new program from the ground up, I am seeking a salary that would reflect those additional skills.”

One area you certainly don’t want to stand out in, however, is a lower price.

While it might feel good to finally land a job by saying, “Not only can I do the necessary work, but I’m willing to take a salary $10,000 less than anyone else,” that feeling will be fleeting. Yes, you got the job, but in doing so you completely devalued your worth and won’t be happy for long.

So take a few minutes to really highlight what makes you unique…

Maybe you’re an accountant not only with CPA and Excel expertise, but you’re also a specialist in finances for companies with 10,000 employees or more.

Perhaps you’re a social media marketing manager that has run campaigns on Twitter and Facebook, but also has a deep understanding of the reports, analytics, and data science behind your posts.

Or let’s say you’re a project manager that people love working for and you always bring in your projects on time and under budget, but you also have a history of launching mobile apps and getting them to trend in the app store.

The key is to find something that your employer needs—and is willing to pay extra for—and then utilize it during a negotiation to distinguish yourself from others and get paid what you deserve.

Jim Hopkinson is the author of the book Salary Tutor: Learn The Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You. His website, SalaryTutor.com, offers a series online salary negotiation courses to help students and professionals effectively negotiate a raise or new job offer.

More from this series on Money.com:

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MONEY salary negotiation

New Study Reveals the Odds You’ll Actually Get the Raise You Ask For

Your boss's decision to grant—or deny—your request could be influenced by a lot more than your performance.

Perhaps you’ve resolved to make 2015 the year that you finally get a big bump up in pay.

If so, you’ll first have to clear the biggest hurdle standing in your way: You.

Less than half of working Americans ever even ask for a raise and close to 30% are uncomfortable negotiating salary, according to a new study by Payscale.

It may help you feel more confident to go after what you want if you know the odds are generally in your favor. Of people who have put themselves out there to request better compensation, three quarters saw their paychecks go up: 44% received the amount they asked for and 31% got an amount that was less than they asked for. (Hey, that’s still something!)

That Payscale study also broke down the likelihood that those who ask shall receive based on annual salary, job, degree level, college major and state of residency.

You’ll have the best shot if you…

 

  • …Already Earn a Decent Wage

    Once again, it’s good to be rich. The higher your annual salary, the more likely you are to have asked for a raise and the more likely you are to have received the raise you requested.

    Individuals earning $150,000 or more a year were the most likely to see their employer match the exact raise they requested, with a 70% success rate. Only 8% of these high-earners saw their request for a raise go unfulfilled.

    Meanwhile, only 25% of those earning between $10,000 and $20,000 saw their incomes increase by the amount they asked for, while 51% had their request for a pay raise denied entirely.

    Somewhere in the middle? The good news is that if your annual income tops $70,000, you have at least a 50% chance of getting the pay raise you request.

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  • …Wear a White Collar

    Unsurprisingly, those who work in higher-paying jobs also have a better shot at having their compensation wishes granted.

    Chief executives were 76% successful in getting the exact pay raises they wanted. First-line supervisors in the construction trades had their requests granted 62% of the time. Other high-wager earners such as financial analysts and electrical engineers rounded out the top five professions most likely to receive a requested raise.

    Those with jobs that commanded lower annual salaries tended to have their requests for raises denied more frequently. Nursing aides and orderlies have the worst chance of getting the raise they want followed by security guards and cashiers. Below are the top five and bottom five occupations for getting a wage increase.

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  • …Went to Law School

    While the level of education a person has obtained didn’t have much impact on their willingness to ask for a raise, it did affect the likelihood that their wish would be granted.

    Those with post-graduate degrees were most likely to be successful in their requests, though success rates were highest for those with an M.B.A. (55%) and a law degree (59%).

    Go figure that attorneys are good at negotiation.

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  • …Got a B.S. in Social Work

    Surprisingly, English language and/or English literature majors were the most likely to have asked for a raise (51%)—call it their way with words. Their requests paid off 49% of the time.

    Those who studied public administration and social services were the most lucky in terms of receiving, getting what they wanted 56% of the time

    Those whose college majors tended to land them jobs in the public sector, such as homeland security, law enforcement, firefighting and other protective services were least likely to have asked for a raise—perhaps because these jobs typically have set pay structures. Workers who came from these majors who did ask were only met with a yes 18% of the time, giving them the lowest success rate.

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  • …Live in Juneau

    Alaska residents are the most likely to push for a raise, with 53% of the population having requested one (and they’ll need it to offset those heating bills). Residents of Rhode Island come in second with 51%, followed by Oregonians and West Virginians, with 48%. Dwellers of Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Idaho tied for fifth with 47% advocating for a raise.

    South Dakotans were least likely to ask for a pay increase, (31%), followed by residents of Arkansas (34%), Nevada (37%) and Nebraska (37%).

    Alaskans’ assertiveness pays off, apparently, as they are also the state residents most likely to receive the pay increase requested. Delawareans were the least successful in their requests with only 32% getting the amount they were after. Below are the top six and worst six states for getting a raise request approved:

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    More from this series on Money.com:

MONEY consumer psychology

7 Reasons to Pretend You Make Less Money

Trick your brain and your wallet will follow.

We all know you can get in financial trouble by pretending to have more money than you actually do — and most of us know that you can’t make an educated guess at someone’s salary by checking out the car they drive. So you can appear to be wealthy even if you’re not. But can you get ahead by telling yourself (and intimating to others) that your paycheck is smaller than it actually is? There are some pretty compelling reasons to do it, and you could find yourself in a far better position than if your paycheck just barely covers expenses.

Here are some reasons to consider pretending your paycheck is just a bit smaller than it really is.

1. Sock Away Money in an Emergency Fund

If you don’t have an emergency fund (or even if you do), you can pretty much count on having an emergency. Car transmissions break, you need to travel unexpectedly or someone in your family ends up needing help. Experts recommend six to 12 months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund. If you don’t yet have that, you may want to make sure you have access to credit. (You can check your free credit report summary on Credit.com to get an idea of how you would be judged by potential lenders.) But having the money saved is a better alternative.

2. Pay Down Debt Faster

If you pretend you make, say, 10% less than you actually do, you can probably cut expenses to accommodate the reduced pay. But the money you will save isn’t pretend — and you can send it to your creditors, reducing or eliminating debt much more quickly. This little fib helps keep your spending in check, which will free you to direct the money someplace else, making some other dream a reality more quickly. You can even figure out a timeline for getting out of credit card debt with this nifty calculator.

3. Save for a Down Payment or Your Kid’s College

Whether you’re looking to buy a house, educate a child or take a trip around the world, your dream is likely to require a significant chunk of change. And one way to get that is to pretend that earmarked money does not even exist. You can have it transferred into a designated account the same day you get paid so that you are not tempted to use it for the heavily discounted camping equipment that you know about because the advertisement for it popped up in your inbox. (Another money-saving hint: Most of us will spend less if we unsubscribe.)

4. Put More Money in Retirement Savings

Retirement seems a long way off when you are in your 20s, and it is. But most people’s expenses grow with time (particularly if you choose to raise children). It is not going to suddenly become easier to save more, at least not until you have far less time to do it, and the money has less time to grow. How many people have you heard complaining that they wished they hadn’t saved so much for retirement?

5. Friends Won’t Pressure You to Splurge

We’re not suggesting you do away with little luxuries altogether. You and a friend want to go get manicures? Go for it (sometimes). But think about whether all of your get-togethers need to involve a meal out, shopping or manicures. Maybe they made a resolution to move more. Walks can do double duty to help get your body and finances in better shape. And if your friends know you are on a beer budget, chances are they won’t assume you have a champagne salary.

6. Friends & Family Won’t Consider You a Human ATM

Do you often or always pick up the tab for groups because you can afford it? If you say, “my treat” too often, it’s possible you’re sending a signal that because you have more, you have an obligation to share it with your friends and family. You may feel that way as well, and if you do, you would be especially wise to pretend you have a little less money than you actually do. If you do choose to give or lend money to friends and relatives, make sure everyone is clear on what is a gift and what is a loan. Money misunderstandings have the potential to damage relationships.

7. Your Income Could Drop

It’s easy — and tempting — to think your salary will be on an upward trajectory from your first day of work until your last. (Don’t the retirement calculators assume that?) And who plans for a furlough or the loss of a big client? During hard times, it’s not unheard-of for companies to levy across-the-board salary cuts. And if you’re acting as if you make every dime that you actually do, it will be harder to adjust than if you’ve been acting as if you made less.

More from Credit.com

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

MONEY salary negotiation

How to Tell If Now Is a Good Time to Ask for a Raise

workers punching timecards
Anthony Marsland—Getty Images

The answer depends not just on how much you've accomplished in the past year, but on the budget calendar at your office and on the economic health of your company.

This is the second in a series of six posts on salary negotiation published in partnership with PayScale.com.

As with so many things in life—relationships, comedy, investing in the stock market—getting a raise can depend on good timing.

If you’ve done your salary research, know what you’re worth in the job market and have determined a pay increase is warranted, you’re far more likely to get it if you think strategically about when to have the raise conversation with your boss.

Here are just a few things to think about before you mark a date on your calendar:

Synching Up with Your Company’s Performance Review Schedule

If your company has a regular performance review schedule, try to have a conversation about your compensation a couple months in advance so that your boss has time to make a case and advocate for budget ahead of that process.

If you wait until the performance review process is underway, often the decisions about salary increases have already been made by the management team. It doesn’t mean that an exception won’t be made, but the easier you make it for your manager, the smoother the whole negotiation process will go.

Taking the Internal Temperature at Your Company

Even if the data shows that you’re making less than you should be, that might not be enough to convince your employer to increase your pay if the company at large isn’t faring well. The best time to ask for a raise is when revenue is on the rise, after a major financial win (especially one you helped with) or when the company is generally in a strong position.

Accurate, real-time salaries for thousands of careers.

If you’ve just had a round of layoffs, a raise conversation is unlikely to go in your favor. If you believe in the company, you may want to stick it out. But, if the death bell is tolling for your employer, looking elsewhere might be the best bet for improving your own financial wellbeing.

Staying on Top of Industry Trends

Taking a broader look at your industry and understanding the external forces that may be impacting it may help with timing your raise discussion, and will also help you make good, strategic decisions about your career overall.

When the Internet started becoming more of a content destination, those journalists who saw the writing on the wall and made the move from print to online early on are certainly patting themselves on the back. It pays to understand if you’re in a thriving or dying industry and whether the lean times are temporary (e.g. real estate) or lasting.

If you deserve a raise, you should ask for one, but good timing can mean the difference between a small bump and a significant jump.

Lydia Frank is the editorial and marketing director for PayScale.com.

More from this series on Money.com:

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MONEY salary negotiation

The 10 Commandments of Salary Negotiation

The Ten Commandments of Salary Negotiation graphic treatment
MONEY

Thou shalt be paid more! Tech recruiter Elizabeth Morgan takes to the mount to offer some wisdom on squeezing money from a stone.

This is the first in a series of six posts on salary negotiation published in partnership with PayScale.com.

1. Never accept the first salary offer.

2. Remember that you can negotiate more than just salary. A sign-on bonus and stock options are also major components of your offer that can be negotiated.

3. Work with your recruiter. Recruiters are your friends. But they are friends who have a budget. Ideally, they want you to accept the offer they are extending to you. Provide concrete data (see #10) to support why you are asking for a different compensation package.

4. Role-play the salary-negotiation conversation. Practice, practice, practice.

5. Utilize time as your golden trump card. Let’s say you found your dream job, but still aren’t happy with the salary that is being offered to you. It’s okay to put a timer on the offer after negotiations. Suggest a short turnaround time (i.e. “I will accept this offer by 5pm today if you can deliver the offer I am asking for”) to your recruiter to provide you with the salary criteria you requested.

6. Don’t be the first to disclose a number. Always let the recruiter or hiring manager be the first to share salary ranges or an offer post interviews.

7. Keep emotion out of the process. Remember: Business is business, and you can’t count on karma or other magical thinking. Sorry.

8. Always prepare a counter offer.

9. Remember that the negotiation process revolves around two factors: what you are worth and what they are willing to pay for you.

10. Always research your value and the company prior to interviewing for a job. Data is key to effective salary negotiating. Payscale.com is a great resource to leverage when doing research to determine your professional worth and how much you should be getting paid.

Elizabeth Morgan has over 15 years of technical recruiting experience, with companies that include Microsoft, Google, Amazon and LinkedIn. Currently, she is building LinkedIn’s Engineering Leadership team and helping launch LinkedIn’s Women in Tech program.

More on salary negotiation from PayScale.com:

 

MONEY Job market

How to Take Advantage of Your Boss’s Biggest Fear

empty office chair in shadows
Max Oppenheim—Getty Images

If the economy keeps expanding at its current rate, the war for talent will intensify. Here's how to turn bad news for employers into good news for your career in 2015.

Star performers, rejoice. This is your year. More than three-quarters of human resources executives polled recently by Challenger Gray & Christmas report that they are struggling to fill open positions—and 91% say that if the economy keeps expanding at its current rate, the war for talent will worsen. Unemployment is in fact expected to continue its slow creep downward in 2015, to 5.7% from 5.9% this September, according to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s most recent forecast.

That means bad news ahead for employers but good news for top producers, who will have real leverage in the coming year. Turnover costs are especially high for positions that are significant contributors to revenue—sometimes 200% of a worker’s salary. So it’s no wonder that 57% of the 4,700 companies surveyed in PayScale.com’s recent “Compensation Best Practices Report” cited keeping high-performing workers as a top business concern, up from 20% in 2010. “Just about every HR department should be discussing talent retention,” says David Card, director at the Center for Labor Economics at the University of California at Berkeley.

Here’s how you can turn your boss’s anxiety to your advantage.

Get more from your employer. Instead of waiting to discuss compensation at performance-review time (when you’ll have competition from co-workers), ask your boss to meet quarterly or biannually to talk career development, says Nancy Karas, an executive career coach with the Five O’Clock Club. Then, after completing a big project or closing a big sale, make your request, naming a specific number.

To determine your asking price, use PayScale.com and Glassdoor.com to gauge the average salary for your skill set and years of experience. Add 10% to 15% if you’re a top performer, says Ed Hunter, founder of Philadelphia executive coaching firm Life in Progress.

Highlight your contributions but also note what more you can offer. “Employers give raises based on how you’re going to perform in the future, not just what you’ve done,” says Oakland executive coach Marty Nemko.

Or polish your résumé. No room in the budget for a raise? Launch an external search, as your skills are likely needed elsewhere. Says Karas: “In 2015 top performers have the most to gain from changing jobs.”

Since many higher-level job openings are only announced internally, seek out insider info. If you don’t know people who work at your target com­panies, join professional groups on Linked­In, initiate conversation on industry trends, then ask certain people in the group to weigh in. After you’ve engaged someone, it’s kosher to message one-on-one and express interest in the firm.

Another way to capture employers’ attention: Offer to speak at an industry event, says Job Search Magic author Susan Whitcomb. From the podium, mention free additional materials you have (like a white paper you wrote) and say, “Share your business card with me afterward, and I’ll be sure you receive that resource.” That way you can follow up and weave into the conversation something like “What do you like about your company?” and “I’m always interested in learning about new opportunities.”

golden

 

TIME Economy

Congrats, World, You’re Getting a Raise Next Year

coin-stacks
Getty Images

Salaries are expected to increase by 5.4% on average globally in 2015, a report says

Here’s some good news for everyone: salaries are expected to increase by 5.4% on average globally in 2015.

That’s the key finding in a study from Hay Group, a global management consultancy firm, which was published this week. The results represent an increase from last year when the global average rose 5.2%.

The U.S. is expected to see a modest increase of 3%, according to the report, up slightly from 2014’s 2.8% increase. And when that increase is adjusted for inflation, you should only expect a 1% bump on average.

The data were taken from Hay Group’s PayNet, which manages data for over 16 million workers in 24,000 organizations in 110 countries. The report also draws on inflation data from the Economist Intelligence Unit to determine just how effective the salary increases will be for each country surveyed.

While the global figure may show an optimistic outlook overall for workers, inflation rates, especially in some emerging economies, will mean lower paychecks for some.

“This average masks a significant slowdown in emerging markets like Brazil, Russia and Ukraine, which have been the key drivers of growth in recent years,” the report said.

Workers in these countries can expect to see salary rises of 6.1%, 6.8% and 6.8%, respectively. However, when adjusted for inflation, which is expected to be high in these countries, workers will actually experience real wage cuts of 0.4%, 0.7% and 3.9%.

“Real pay is now rising in many European markets, but in key emerging economies, which have been the boom area of the last 10 years, real wages are falling,” said Ben Frost, a consultant at Hay Group, in a statement.

Countries such as Greece, Ireland and the U.K. got a shout out in the report for “signs of hope” after struggling economically recently. The countries are expected to see significant salary bumps.

Breaking the findings down by region, those living in Asian countries should be especially pleased, with real incomes in those areas set to get the biggest boost globally, rising 3.1% on average.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Mental Health/Psychology

Your Emotional IQ Predicts How Much You’ll Make

Colleagues at work
Getty Images

Social skills at work lead to a bigger paycheck

How good are you at reading another person’s emotions? $50,000-a-year good? Or $150,000? Your level of emotional intelligence may predict how much you earn, finds a new study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

The researchers looked at a trait called “emotion recognition ability,” responsible for how well you can sense (and make sense of) another person’s emotions from their face and voice. Researchers tested and measured it along with other interpersonal skills—such as how socially astute they were, their networking savvy and how seemingly trustworthy they were—in 142 German workers.

High emotional recognition was linked to a higher salary, even after controlling for salary-bumping factors like age, gender, education, work experience and work hours.

“This very basic ability has effects on the interpersonal facilitation facet of job performance and, most notably, even on annual income, an objective indicator of career success,” the study authors wrote. “The better people are at recognizing emotions, the better they handle the politics in organizations and the interpersonal aspects of work life, and thus the more they earn in their jobs.”

That could give women, who may recognize emotions better than men, an edge—in theory, at least. One study found that female managers who could more accurately assess nonverbal cues got better satisfaction ratings from their subordinates—an advantage that wasn’t detected in men.

MONEY Health Care

The Hidden Financial Benefits of Keeping Yourself Fit

running shoes hovering over a scale
Geir Pettersen—Getty Images

Investing in fitness can generate financial rewards as well as health benefits.

You know exercise is good for you. What you may not know is that working out can have financial benefits too.

Plenty of research suggests that overweight people spend more on health care, but it’s not just the thin who stand to save. Fact is, regardless of your weight, if you’re a couch potato you’re likely missing out on earning and saving opportunities.

The Payoff in Your Paycheck

Health care costs aren’t the only way physical activity is a benefit. People who work out regularly, as in at least three times per week, are more productive at work than those who don’t, according to research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Those who get sufficient exercise also miss fewer workdays, according to the same study. Those absences can translate to lost income and lost opportunities for advancement.

Another study published in the Journal of Labor Research found that men who work out regularly can expect to make 6% more than their sedentary counterparts, on average. For women, the pay boost is higher: Fitness-savvy females make 10% more, on average.

A Nudge From the Boss

If you’re not already working out, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to start.

For starters, some employers just flat-out pay their employees to work out as part of workplace wellness initiatives. For example, IBM offers cash to employees who meet certain fitness goals. Employees at Google and Zappos can use on-site fitness classes and facilities, enabling them to skip membership fees at traditional gyms. Even if your company doesn’t currently offer wellness benefits, it might soon: Under the Affordable Care Act, employers can receive grants to get one started.

Your employer may have a deal worked out with a local gym where employees can get discounted rates. Even if your company doesn’t offer such an incentive, chances are that your health insurance provider does. UnitedHealthcare offers reimbursements of $20 per month to members who use one of many participating gyms, while Blue Cross Blue Shield has worked out a $25 membership fee for their members at over 8,000 gyms nationwide. These insurance giants aren’t the only ones in on the game—most health care insurers offer some type of fitness benefit for members.

Just Do It

On the other hand, skipping the gym altogether may be your biggest money saver. If a participating fitness center isn’t available near you, or you’re just not the gym-going type, there are plenty of ways to get in shape for free. You can use the myriad online videos in the comfort and privacy of your own home, such as those offered on Bodyrock.TV or YouTube’s workout channel. If you like mobile apps, try Daily Workouts free app, or iPump. If you’re close with your co-workers you can start a lunchtime walking group. Your boss may just end up rewarding you for it.

Read more from NerdWallet Health, a website that empowers consumers to find high quality, affordable health care and lower their medical bills.

MONEY pay gap

Why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella STILL Has It Wrong on Raises for Women

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella
Manish Swarup—AP

The exec has taken back his comments that we should count on karma to boost our salary, but that doesn't mean he gets what it means to be a female at work today.

Easy for a dude to say that women should have “faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.” Especially a dude who makes $7.6 million and sits at the top of one of America’s largest companies.

But Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who made that comment in answer to a question about how women should ask for a salary increase—in front of a room full of women at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing on Thursday—at least seems to have realized the error of his statement.

On his blog last night, he acknowledged:

I answered that question completely wrong. Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programs at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap. I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved, Maria’s [Maria Klawe, computer scientist and moderator] advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.

Great that he owned the mistake. But what’s worse, the fact that he didn’t realize that women are paid 22 cents less on the dollar than our male peers—or the fact that he still doesn’t realize it’s not as simple as “just asking” for us?

Yes, We Pay a Penalty for Not Asking

Assuming you care remotely about women’s issues, you’ve seen the research showing that few women negotiate salaries. (By the by, it goes all the way up the ladder. Nadella’s fellow C-suiter GM’s Mary Barra noted at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit that she had never in her career asked for a raise. The emcee then polled the audience on how many of them also had never asked, and “the majority of the conference’s high-powered female attendees raised their hands,” according to Fortune‘s Broadsheet.)

Our reticence has a compounding effect over our careers. By not asking right off the bat, Carnegie Mellon economics professor Linda Babcock has said, we leave lost earnings “anywhere between $1 million and $1.5 million” on the table.

But We Pay a Penalty for Asking, Too

Yet Babcock’s research found that we may be on to something with our sense of caution. Simply stating the case for why we deserve a raise doesn’t tend to get women to the same result as it does men. In fact, it can actually hamper our career progress.

For a study published in 2005, Babcock and Hannah Riley Bowles, a senior lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School, asked participants to watch videos of men and women asking for a raise. The guys and gals in the video used the exact same scripts.

The result? Participants liked the men and agreed to give them the bump in pay, but found the women too aggressive. While they gave her the raise, they did not like her. In particular, male study participants were less willing to want to work with the female negotiator.

We know that being well liked—a quality we women struggle with starting from the first grade-school birthday party we’re not invited to—is also key to getting ahead. So we’re caught between a high heel and a hard place.

Or, as Joan Williams, founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law, put it in The Huffington Post,

If women act too feminine and don’t ask, they end up with lower salaries. If they act too masculine and ask, then people don’t want to work with them. Women walk a tightrope between being too feminine and too masculine. Men don’t, which is one reason why office politics are trickier for women than for men.

So We Have to Give an Oscar-Winning Performance to Get What We Want

The research Babcock and Riley Bowles have done has found that women have to be more, well, “womanly” in their approach in order to get the raises and promotions that they deserve and come out the other side smelling like a rose.

You know—positive, solicitous, and putting others first. Less shark, more 1950s housewife.

Acknowledging herself that these findings are “depressing,” Babcock (along with Riley Bowles) concluded that being collaborative—trying to take the perspective of the company and hiring manager and using “we” statements instead of “I”—tends to be more effective than other approaches. They’ve also emphasized trying to be “authentic” by using language that feels comfortable.

That doesn’t feel the same as “just ask”—it requires us to act a part when what we simply want is for our managers to respect us as workers and people in a gender-neutral way.

We want to be able to walk in and say, “I brought in $2 million in business this year and am underpaid relative to my position,” and be better paid and just as well liked at the end of it.

You know, like a dude.

Related:
5 Ways Women Can Close the Pay Gap for Themselves
When She Makes More: How to Level the Financial Playing Field

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