It’s easy to say sorry a lot, to try and keep quiet at work. However, not only can this be irritating when you haven’t done anything wrong, but it can also negatively affect your career trajectory. A business that employs you may mean well, but it’s rare that you get a raise or that promotion or some other work benefit just because you asked for it. For these reasons, you need to be ready to ask for what you want. You also need to know how to practice your approach to improve your chances.

Know Your Goals

Many people want different things out of their jobs, and sometimes, different goals collide. For example, when it comes time to go to the negotiating table, most people are thinking about their pay, and that’s certainly reasonable. But have you considered also talking about getting a better job title while you’re at it? Margaret Neale, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business and the coauthor of Getting (More of) What You Want, calls your job title a good example of “a signal both to the outside world and to your colleagues of what level you are within your organization.” She adds that it is an element of “your compensation package” that affords status and connections and can “help you do your job better.” If you’re having trouble deciding what to go after, look at other companies and see what job titles comparable employees have with them. The market may end up guiding your hand.

In addition, job-hopping is more common than it ever was. If you negotiate your way to a job title that implies more responsibility and skill, the decision to take on the new role may be an investment in yourself that pays dividends later. Of course, there isn’t a single goal that’s more important than the other. What you need to be sure to do is reflect on what your job really means for you, and what is lacking. This will guide you towards what the focus on in your negotiations.

The Right Approach

So, how do you actually go about getting things as a part of your negotiation? For one, if you’re holding out until your annual performance review, you may already be too late. “Start talking to your boss about getting a raise three to four months in advance,” says writer and former human resources professional Suzanne Lucas of Evil HR Lady. “That’s when they decide the budget.” Depending on the size of your company, there may be a certain amount of money allotted each year for raises.

Of course, it’s every bit as important to read your boss when asking for something. Everyone has a different personality, and doing things in a way that feels comfortable is the first major step in your favor. For example, is your boss a direct type of person? Address this straight-up, saying that you want to have a meeting in order to revisit your salary or some other type of benefit that you are talking about. When you have the discussion, be sure to not only properly lay out why you want the raise/title, but also make the case as to why you deserve it. There’s naturally going to be some pushback, so be ready to counter with a friendly back and forth.  It often helps to have some evidence to prove some of your statements. For example, have your initiatives led to higher amounts of clientele for your business? Be ready to prove it. What you are doing now is demonstrating your value to the company, before you ask for compensation.

At the same time, part of asking for better pay, benefits, or treatment at work is being willing to deal with what happens if you don’t get them. In some cases, your job has some legitimate reasons. The money may not be there, or perhaps the company is a position where they can accommodate you at a later date. When things get to this point, you can either wait your turn, so to speak, or look for greener pastures. If you plan on going elsewhere, you’re going to want to make a lot of applications, and using resume templates can increase your application volume. Simply take the template and fill it with your appropriate information. You’ll have all the means to get what you deserve at work—no matter where that is.