If you have ducked the dreaded salary negotiation in the past, make this year the year you do it. It’s never too early to start preparing to ask for a pay rise. This is because – as with any negotiation – preparation is key. There are many steps to the process, including researching information on salary levels and practising your pitch before the crucial meeting. Fundamental to your success is your ability to impress your boss or your firm with your value.

First, ask yourself this question: what does your boss/the firm value? I am not referring here to the (often aspirational and vague) ‘values’ your firm sets out on its website, but rather to the concrete activities and outcomes that are respected, rewarded, and make their way into the stories that are told in the firm.

Second, you need to ensure that you can describe your contribution in terms of those values when you finally make your pitch. This is likely to be just the start of your preparation for achieving a pay rise  but it’s important to position yourself in terms of the firm’s needs rather than your own.

Be brave – ask for the raise.