As a remote worker, particularly if you work on a freelance basis, you must seek out new projects on a regular basis. When you apply for new positions, you can present samples of your work and discuss your work history. Sometimes, potential clients will hire you based solely on that information. However, many clients will also insist on job references.
Job references can help them to verify the quality of your work through third parties, rather than simply taking your word at face value.
When asked for references as a remote worker, you may have difficulty producing any unless you are prepared for the request. Since you most likely work in your own home, your relationships with co-workers may be minimal or non-existent. That is particularly true if you work as a freelancer and not solely for a specific company. Therefore, it is essential for you to compile a portfolio of work and testimonials or job references from satisfied clients. Below are some tips to help you learn how to secure job references as a remote worker.
Build a Body of Work on a Freelancing Website
Many websites can connect you to clients looking for freelance work. A main feature of most of those websites is the ability for clients to rate your work. In fact, some websites automatically prompt clients to provide ratings or reviews when projects are completed. Therefore, by building a body of work on one or more of those websites, you will accumulate reviews and testimonials you can use when you are asked for job references. Additionally, having a high ranking on a specific freelancing website will make clients using that website more likely to hire you.
A freelance website may also sometimes provide you with additional ratings that can serve as testimonials of your talent. For example, websites may rank the services you have provided to clients over the entire time you have been a member of the sites based on factors like:
- Your total earnings on the site in a set amount of time, such as the previous year
- How recently you have performed work through the website
- Your ratio of positive to negative feedback from clients or how quickly you increase your site ranking
Use Surveys to Encourage Client Feedback
When working remotely for various clients, do not expect to keep in contact with all clients after jobs are completed. Many clients may request one-time projects. Therefore, you may have difficulty contacting them at a later date when you require job references. To avoid such problems, ask for immediate feedback after you complete a project. To do so, email you clients short surveys regarding your work. Ask your clients for feedback on issues like:
- The timeliness of project completion
- The quality of your work
- Areas in which you need to improve your work
After providing short surveys for your clients, look for responses that are primarily positive. When you receive positive feedback, ask the clients who provide it if they will be willing to provide testimonials or job references for you. Clients who give you high ratings and praise your work are likely to be happy to serve as references for you in the future.
Ask Clients to Give You Short Reviews on Their Social Media Pages
Any positive ratings you can obtain from previous clients can serve as powerful references. However, they can only do so if they can be verified as legitimate. Posting the positive comments your previous clients have made about your work on your own website will not prove the legitimacy of the comments. Instead, ask your clients to post short informational blurbs about your services on their social media profiles. Those posts will serve several purposes, including:
- Creating verifiable records of when work was completed.
- Providing permanent reviews that you can show to new clients as needed, even long after you have severed professional ties with the clients who posted the reviews.
- Spreading the word about your excellent services immediately to everyone in the social networks of the clients who are reviewing your services.
Another reason to ask clients to provide references for you in the form of social media posts is that such posts can be written quickly. Your previous clients may be quite busy and reluctant to spend time singing your praises to potential new clients on the phone or by email. However, taking a few moments to leave you a testimonial on social media will take very little time. Therefore, more of your clients are likely to respond positively to such requests.
Take Advantage of Positive Comments Your Clients Voluntarily Give
While working with clients, you may receive positive comments about your work via email. It can be easy to overlook those comments when you receive them. However, if you do not delete your email messages, you can find those positive comments again when you need them.
At those times, you can contact the previous clients who made them to ask if they would be willing to allow you to post their testimonials on your website or social media profiles. You can also ask your clients if they would be willing to post their comments on their own social media profiles.
Taking advantage of positive comments received via email will be even easier if you react to such comments as you receive them. However, asking current clients for job references may cause them to think you no longer wish to work with them. Instead, flag the email messages and discusses the positive comments with the clients as your working relationships ends.
Explore Other Professional Reference Options
If you are new to the remote workforce, or to working in general, the above techniques for obtaining job references may not help you right away. You must have previous clients to request references from them. If you do not have previous clients in the field in which you wish to work, other reference options must be explored. You probably already know several people who can provide you with character references, as well as references regarding your work ethic, if not specific skills. Possible other contacts to use as references include:
- Previous employers or coworkers from previous working experiences unrelated to your remote work
- Previous high school teachers, college professors or coaches
- Staff members at organizations for which you have volunteered
- Neighbors for whom you have performed odd jobs, such as babysitting