You’ve waited all year for your annual review and now that it’s finally here you’re nervous that you might not get a raise. The cost of living is going up and the only way to keep on top of your expenses is to get a raise.Fortunately, there are some things you can do to increase your odds of getting a bigger check and put more money in your checking accounts.

Read on to learn 5 tips for negotiating a pay raise.

1. State your case and be your biggest advocate

Tell your boss exactly what you have done over the past year that has made a positive difference, increased profits or boosted employee morale. Whatever you have done or changed that makes you stand out should be brought up. You can’t be too obvious. Even if you think your boss noticed what you’ve been up to, it never hurts to remind them.

If your company can’t give out raises because of the economy, putting yourself out there as an important member of the team will keep you off the chopping block if layoffs happen and you’ll be first in line for a pay raise when things improve.

2. Avoid sob stories

Your boss doesn’t want to hear your hardship plea during your annual review. Never highlight your need for the raise, such as a sick family member or new baby in the family. Raises are never factored on your need, so it’s best to not even go that route. Instead, spend more time highlighting what you’ve done for the company and why that should be rewarded.

3. Clarify your position in the company

Ask intelligent questions during your review that will highlight what your employer expects from you. Ask them what their expectations are from you as an employee and make sure to play up any goals they list that you have already met. This will make you look like a more valuable employee that is worthy of a raise.

4. Never demand a raise

If you don’t get the raise you wanted, or any raise at all, ask your boss if you can come back in 30 days or a few months to revisit the situation. When you come back, be prepared with a detailed list of your contributions as well as salary comparison information for similar positions in your area. These things can help snag the raise you’re after.

5. Be tactful

When expressing how you deserve a raise, it’s important to be tactful. Don’t tell your employer they overlooked you last year or insinuate that they are in any way less than perfect at their own jobs. Doing so can put them on the defense, and any shot you had at a raise will go up in smoke.

Using these 5 tips will help you approach your next review in a way that will help snare that raise you’ve been after. In today’s economy it’s more important than ever to approach conversations with employers with tact to get the results you desire. Be cool, be calm, be prepared and go into the review with a plan of action.