In the corporate world, asking for a raise is almost treated as if it were grounds to fire, even if you are someone who rarely asks for anything. This doesn’t mean getting a raise must depend on perfect conditions, though. It’s a bit like poker sometimes: if there are chips on the table and you have a strong hand or value, then it’s just about representing your case.

Easier said than done, right? Well, let’s look at what makes a good case for a raise and why you should feel confident about your chances of getting it.

When the Time is Right

The most commonly agreed upon date to ask for a raise is at the end of each fiscal year if it is not explicitly tied to your yearly evaluation. There are some factors that can play into your timing, of course, like company-wide layoffs, new hires, and etc. This should be considered, but it shouldn’t instantly void your case for a raise.

Uncertain of when the perfect time to ask for one? Well, ask your boss. The only way this could be seen as a 

negative impact on your chances for a raise is if you didn’t bother to ask any of your colleagues or check employee handbooks to ensure that there is nothing specifying raises. Sometimes the end of the year is too late to ask and budgets are already finalized.

What’s the Best Approach?

When it comes to actual 1-on-1 with your boss, you have to have an idea of what their personality type is when it comes to work-related issues. Are they direct, bullet-point-driven who aren’t much for small talk? Send them an email telling them exactly what you want to talk about. If your boss is someone you hang out with a lot, is extremely friendly, and can appreciate the approach of hinting towards them that you would be a much happier employee if you got a bump in pay, then a finessed approach may be best.

No matter how you get there, be prepared with your questioning and be prepared to talk about yourself like you’re the star player on a team going for the franchise tag. Tell your boss that you have notably improved your skills and that you feel your value as a member of the team has gone up. Let them know that you are now taking command of more responsibilities, your number of mistakes is much lower, and you would like a salary that serves as motivation to keep pushing for excellence.

Strong Effort Pays Off

If you have any documents to help narrate your story, print them out and hand it to them so they can follow along and put your work into perspective with the impact that you have in raw output with numbers, bars, and pie charts. You can never underestimate the power of visual aids.
If your pitch is unsuccessful, at least you have shown that you are not afraid to go after what you want, and for most bosses, this is something they will be thinking about when the next opportunity presents itself.