So you think you're due for a raise. You've been with your company for years and do pretty solid work, your boss likes you, you're a good coworker, and everyone knows it. You've done the math and have calculated that you should be making more money than you currently do. 

How do you fix this without any stress or embarrassment? No matter who you are, asking for a raise is often awkward and has a ton of potential to backfire on you. You need to be prepared here, right?  

1. Know what you are worth 

Nothing is more embarrassing than thinking that you are more valuable to your company than your boss thinks you are.

"Boss, I am more valuable than my pay suggests!" 

"Well, I don't think so." 

Crap. Now what? Well, before you get in that situation, do some research. Find out what other professionals in your field are making and compare it against your own salary. That way when your boss disagrees with you, you can show him the cold, hard, numbers. 

2. Know what you've done 

If your boss wants to know why you think your work deserves more pay, have a list of all your projects and achievements ready to show him. You solved that one problem that nobody else could solve? You covered for your coworker on that important project? You bring doughnuts to the office for everybody on Fridays? Write it down and have it ready. 

3. Know your limit

Be prepared to negotiate with your boss. Chances are, he will want to try to talk you down to a lesser raise than you were hoping for. It's like trying to barter with a used car salesman. You want to buy the car for less than he wants to sell it to you for, and the most skilled negotiator will come out on top. By knowing your absolute limit, you won't be able to be talked down below it. 

4. Know your stuff

When you walk into the meeting, be sure to have all your documents on hand, ready and eager to showcase if need be. You are organized, you are professional, you have your information all together like a person who deserves a raise. If your boss has a question that is hard to answer, knowing your stuff before the meeting will make it that much easier to have a quality answer ready for him. 

5. Know how to get right back up again

There is a chance that even if you practice what we preach, your boss won't fold and you'll be stuck with the exact same pay. This is okay. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again, right? Keep up your quality of work and your good attitude, and come at him again when you feel the time is right. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, don'tcha know. 

Well, there you have it, the five best practices that will get you the pay you deserve. Feel a little more confident? A little more secure? Good. Now go get that raise!