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Talking about money — especially when it comes to asking for more of it —makes many of us feel, well, awkward. But that’s no reason not to request the amount you deserve.

According to a study by the Cass Business School, the University of Warwick, and the University of Wisconsin, women ask for raises just as frequently as men do. Unfortunately, the study found that while women aren’t shy about asking for a raise, historically, they’ve been 25 percent less likely than their male counterparts to receive it.

But don’t let that information discourage you. Let it empower you to strengthen your resolve to change those statistics.

“Asking for a raise is tough on any employee, especially women in the workplace,” says Neale Godfrey, president and chairman at Green$treet Commons, Inc. “That said, women have made incredible strides and a women’s voice in corporate America is louder than ever.”

Let’s take our volume and fearlessness to a new level, ladies. As the new year and review season roll around, it’s vital to build an iron-clad case that proves you merit this bump in pay. Here’s your roadmap to asking for — and getting — the raise you deserve.

Know your worth

While it’s tempting to request a pay hike that would take your lifestyle to a whole new level of fabulous, it’s important to be realistic. When it comes to making an ask that will be considered, you need to understand where your salary falls in relation to others with your title in the same industry.

“The first step is to do your homework and determine what the current market rates are for your position,” says Amanda Haddaway, managing director and lead consultant and trainer for HR Answerbox. “Check out websites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Glassdoor, and other online pay sites. Keep in mind that some of this data is user-submitted, so it may not be 100 percent accurate, but it can at least give you a ballpark of what others are being paid for similar jobs in your area.”

Pay attention to your role and level when doing this comparative research, says Adam R. Calli, principal consultant at Arc Human Capital, LLC. “Be sure it’s matched to your hierarchical level, your duties and responsibilities, your performance, and your geography.”

Show your value

Once you’ve determined that magic number, you’ll want to go into your review or meeting armed with evidence that illustrates exactly why you deserve that boost.

“Be prepared to talk about your accomplishments and have concrete examples,” says Jody Friend, president and CEO of JLM HR Consulting, LLC.

Calli recommends considering the following while building your case:

  1. What are the key performance indicators that are monitored in your company or your division? “If you can tie your work to positive benefits for the organization, then you are putting down a strong foundation to justify an increase,” he says.
  2. What happened during the past year or so that was unusual and required unusual effort on your part? “Reminding the boss of how you stepped up during particularly trying times is an important part of your argument,” Calli points out. Think of things like going above and beyond while short-staffed, rolling out a new system, and meeting new client demands.
  3. Did you save the company money? If so, bring out the receipts. Data is your friend.
  4. Did you take on any new responsibilities? Flip through your calendar and look at everything that was scheduled this year to jog your memory, Calli suggests. Did you prove your worth by managing a bigger team? Go above and beyond to take on tasks you weren’t hired to do? Train a large number of staff or teach your colleagues something important? Take on extra travel that usually isn’t required?
  5. Did you earn a certification that makes you more valuable (not to mention more marketable!)?

Practice makes perfect

It’s completely understandable to feel nervous about making the request— all the more reason to workshop it.

“Role play the conversation,” suggests Godfrey. “It might be awkward to rehearse your negotiation, but preparation is key. Find a friend or family member and record the discussion.”

Time it just right

Be mindful of when might be an opportune moment. Choose the right time for “the conversation,” Godfrey advises.

“Schedule it, and be cognizant of what is happening at work. Before a big deadline or the week before your boss is going on vacation may not set the best stage for a raise discussion.”

Get creative with your requests

While, of course, everyone hopes this request will go his or her way, if you don’t receive a resounding, “Yes!” initially, take heart: all is not lost.

“Companies are hesitant to make a longtime increased salary commitment, but might be happy to recognize and reward you for a job well done,” Calli says.

Perhaps there’s something other than cold hard cash that would make you feel more appreciated. “What is valuable to you besides only money?” Calli asks. “Maybe an extra week of vacation as a bonus? What if they pay for your parking for the year? To the company, paying for parking is a very different thing than more payroll dollars. So be creative and have a plan B of what you’ll ask for if the salary-increase request is turned down.

Remember the old saying, “You don’t ask, you don’t get?” Well, you’ve got this. And you’ve earned it!