It's only natural that sometimes you're going to feel ready for the next step in your career. In fact, you should be considering where your career is headed all the time. Whether you're simply looking for a change of scenery or a big promotion, it's important to be able to negotiate the terms and value of your work. For example, if you interview for a contract or consultancy position, you'll need to be prepared to lay out your terms during an interview. If you've been working your butt off for an internal promotion, you'll need tangible evidence of why you deserve it over your colleagues. All in all, there's an art to negotiating what you're worth, and though it can take years of time and practice, here are five tips to get you started:

1. Do your research 
At the end of the day, there's no excuse for not having some idea of what others are making in positions comparable to your own. This information is listed on a wide range of locations across the Web, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Payscale.com and Salary.com, among others. Learn how your salary compares to your peers across the industry, and also have an idea of the average salary for those in the position for which you are gunning. 

2. Know what you're asking for 
If you're sitting down with your boss to discuss your performance and hoping to get rewarded for your hard work, be prepared to explain exactly what you are asking for. Do you want a raise or are you looking for benefits? Do you feel you've earned extra vacation days? Is the change in title most important? Be able to discuss in detail why you believe you have earned more responsibility or specific perks. 

3. Show off your worth 
It's dangerous to enter a negotiation feeling undervalued without concrete evidence to support your claim. In the case of an interview, having tangible examples of your past work may make the difference when negotiating pay. If you're vying for a promotion, having firm proof of how you have gone above and beyond during your time with the company may be pivotal. Remember that you'll need to demonstrate consistency. Showcasing your worth means going that extra step on a daily basis. 

4. Keep the conversation going 
If a negotiation gets put on hold, make sure you actively work to keep it going without being too pushy. Establish what was accomplished during a discussion and reiterate it clearly to those involved before tabling the negotiations for later. Also, make sure to take notes on what was discussed so that you may refer back to it. If you bring up the subject with your boss several times and are brushed aside, it may be a sign that you should start looking elsewhere to continue your career development. Stagnant jobs with no room for advancement can quickly become unrewarding, and you should consider moving on to a new company if it seems you're stuck in one place. 

5. Leave room for compromise 
You can't walk in and expect that all of your demands are going to be met unquestioned. Remember that a negotiation requires wiggle room on both ends. Don't bow out right away and accept a low offer, but also be prepared to get pushback on your terms. Rather than say no to a specific offer, ask for more information about your boss's thought process and what they see for your future with the company.