You’ve put in the time, the effort, and the work and have arrived at the conclusion that you’re ready for a bump in pay and/or job title. This is exactly how to ask for it.

Hard-work, one of the key characteristics of an alpha male can be strenuous: you put in the hours, you skip on social events killing yourself to get the task done and produce results for the greater good of your organization. But, sometimes, what comes right after the hard-work can be even harder: asking for a raise.

Even though we here at The Man Guide know you’ve earned that raise, your best move would be to follow the steps below and make your employer see that you’ve earned the raise as well.

Step 1: Earn it (Duh)

Might seem like common sense and I’ll assume because you’re about to ask for it that you deserve it BUT keep in mind illusory superiority, a cognitive bias that causes us to overestimate our own qualities and abilities, exaggerating flaws in other people while overrating how well we perform.

Prior to asking for a rise you need to prove you are worth it, doing not only what your boss expects from you (your job description) but even going a step further, as an article on Money Crashers puts it:

“If you want a raise, you must convince your boss that you are worth the extra investment. How do you do that? Of course, doing the best job you possibly can is a great starting point – but even that often does little to differentiate you from the other employees. What matters most are those unexpected efforts.”

That translates into doing more than your duties and helping the entire organization get to the next level. The best way? Start your own brainchild, which is what I call projects that you see from initial conception to final adoption.

Step 2: Be direct right from the get-go

Contrary to popular belief, your organization wants you to be driven and almost selfishly ambitious because most of the time your success translates into their success. From the get-go you need to let your manager know that you intend to move up within the company and take on more responsibilities in a relatively short period of time. When it comes time to ask, unless your boss is old-school, he’ll appreciate the directness.

Be straightforward about what you want and prepare to explain exactly why you deserve it. “Be really thoughtful about it,” says Alison Green, author of the Ask a Manager Blog, on a article on Forbes. “At its essence, a raise is recognition that you are now more valuable than you were—that your skill level has improved, that you’ve accomplished more.”

Step 3: Do your homework to see how much you can ask for

How much you ask for depends on your company. If your organization gives out raises on an annual basis, your request should be close to what they’re already used to giving out. If you feel (and can prove) you’ve excelled at your position, you can ask for a little bit more. Say your company grants 3% pay incrases annually, then you can ask for 4% or even 5%.

If your company doesn’t hand out raises annually, do research on sites like Glassdoor and see how much a person with your experience should be making in your specific industry and region; you should also talk to professionals in the same field as yours to get some realistic salary expectations. You can also talk to recruiters and see how much the competition is offering (not to jump ship but to build your case and be realistic in your expectations).

Step 4: Keep it classy when you ask AND when you get the answer

When asking for a raise your case should revolve only around the value you bring to your organization and you should NEVER do the following:

  • Bring up how much a coworker makes
  • Threaten to leave, quoting an offer another company has made you
  • Simply say that you need the money or are doing your best
  • Beg or whine instead or making a logical case for your raise.

If you get the Yes, well, say thank you and invite your boss out for a drink but if you get rejected, do this to keep it classy and professional:

  • Don’t get angry, instead ask why you didn’t get and, more importantly, ask about the steps you need to take to get closer to your goal. Alison Green suggests that you reply with: What would it take for me to earn a raise in the future?’ and if they don’t have an answer, “that’s an indication that your manager is terrible or that the company is structured poorly.”
  • Don’t make ultimatums or beg or whine
  • Sit down with your boss at a different time to lay out a plan for the things you need to do in order to get the raise in a not so future meeting.
  • Work harder than ever and repeat steps 1 to 3 after some time has passed. If nothing changes you might need to consider what other opportunities are out there.