Asking for a promotion is a scary prospect. You feel like you deserve it, but does your boss feel the same way? You don’t want to come across as presumptuous or entitled, but you also don’t want to feel like a pushover. Perhaps your boss is waiting for you to show the initiative and ask for what you want. A lot of things run through your head in a situation like this. Here are some tips to help.

Plan ahead and do your homework

You can anticipate what your boss will say when you bring up the topic. The most blunt and obvious question is, “why you?” Come up with a list off all the reasons you’re deserving of this promotion. Don’t let anything catch you by surprise. Has there been a mistake in your past that you expect weighs on your boss’ mind? Come up with a thoughtful answer that will assuage any fears or doubts they might have.

Do not throw anyone under the bus

As much as you might want to make the argument of, “I deserve this so much more than so and so,” do not do that. You’ll make yourself seem petty and difficult to work with. Chances are that job you’re after requires teamwork and working well with other people. If you’re admitting you can’t do that in the same breath as asking for the promotion, you’re not going to look good.

Time it right

Ideally a conversation like this happens during an annual or semi-annual review. If you work in an alternative workplace or are far off from one of these events, think through when might be the best time to broach the subject. Is this position open because someone is leaving? If so, you’ll want to give the appropriate amount of time for your boss to process this departure, but showing your interest sooner rather than later is a good idea. Chances are your coworkers are thinking the same thing.

Ask for the meeting

Do not just pop into your boss’ office on a random Tuesday morning and ask for a promotion. Catching them off guard with a topic as big as this will not leave a good impression. Send them an email a few days to a week ahead of time stating you’d like to discuss your performance and future with the company. This will already set a good tone as it will show your loyalty and desire to advance. This will also allow your boss to start thinking of you in a different role and force them to consider your potential.

Don’t sell yourself short

Whether it’s work performance, responsibility, or salary, don’t be afraid to tell your boss what you think you’ve done well, what you feel you deserve, and what you want to do for the company. Make sure you know your position well and what you’re worth. Understand your strengths and how those could be of benefit to the company. Don’t be afraid to say how your skills aren’t being used to their full potential and that you’d like to do more. Bottom line: don’t be afraid to ask. The worst they can say is, “No.”

Above all, know that if you’re in the right position, your boss will be glad that you’re looking to advance. Nobody ever gets fired for asking for a promotion. But if you don’t ask, you’re only hurting yourself.