Job References for Remote Workers

As a remote worker, you must be prepared to apply for and accept new positions and assignments regularly.

Freelancers may even need to work for multiple companies or clients to ensure they can complete enough assignments to sustain their standard of living, but all remote workers are very familiar with the hiring process.

When applying for new virtual jobs, you will need access to some of your previous work and your general work history. While many clients will be satisfied with that information to hire you for a project, others may require you to provide job references to further determine your workmanship.

Due to the nature of work-from-home jobs, though, securing job references can be difficult. For instance, you may not have substantial relationships with coworkers, clients or bosses if you only corresponded via email.

Unless you have already collected suitable references for previous applications, the request for job references may be jarring. Still, it is essential for you to compile a list of references and/or testimonials along with your work portfolio. The sections below explain how you can get references as a remote worker.

Use Freelancing Websites

By creating a freelancing website, you can advertise your skills and take advantage of the rating feature most of the websites offer. Clients are often prompted to rate your work after a project has been completed, which gives them an opportunity to write about their experiences working with you. If you use one or more of these websites, clients are more likely to rate you and maybe even recommend you to other clients looking for similar assistance.

Even if you choose not to use any of the ratings or comments from the websites as job references, it is great publicity to be a high-ranking freelancer.

Additionally, the websites may be able to compare your services to other freelancers. For example, the websites may rank your turnaround time, responsiveness and the types of services you offer based on other freelancers on the site. The following information may be accessible to potential clients on freelancer sites:

  • Your total earnings.
  • Your performance quality.
  • Your ratio of positive and negative feedback.

Use Client Surveys

Because remote jobs are typically temporary, you might not hear back from a client once a project is finished. If you would like to use a client as a job reference, or believe you may want to use him or her as a reference, you should ask for immediate feedback via a survey after you complete a project. Surveys may be emailed or mailed to your clients and may consist of the following types of questions:

  • Was the project completed in a timely fashion?
  • Are you satisfied with the quality of the work?
  • In what ways could I improve my work to better suit clients like you?

Be sure to receive permission from the clients before using their survey responses in job applications. Clients who give you positive feedback may make good job references, so ask them if they would be willing to serve as a future reference for you.

Use Social Media Reviews

Clients may post comments about your work on social media sites to your page or their own, but you can also encourage your clients to leave comments on social media sites. Because social media is less intimidating to most users than direct email messaging or personal surveys, clients may be more responsive to social media surveys and requests for feedback that may serve multiple purposes such as the following:

  • Documenting when work was completed
  • Spreading the word about your services
  • Offering you long-term access to professional reviews

Posts can be short or detailed, giving clients the freedom to express their opinions openly. However, social media reviews can only be used as official job references if you can verify the review.

Use Positive Comments Clients Give You Voluntarily

Sometimes, you do not need to worry about tracking down your clients to ask for feedback because they will want to give it to you. Such feedback may be sent via email, by phone or through another online messaging system, depending on your main method of contacting your clients.

Saving your emails and messages can help you compile a list of potential job references that you can post online with their permission. Asking if these clients would be willing to recommend your services to their friends and family on their social media profiles is also an option. Remember to record positive feedback and comments you receive for easy recall later.

You are advised to avoid contacting current clients to ask for job references because it might imply that you are seeking other work besides their project(s). To ensure your clients do not feel pressured to send you positive feedback or any comments that can be used as a reference, you should emphasize that feedback is voluntary.  

Use Other Professional References

Remote workers who may not have been working in this field for an extended period may not feel comfortable obtaining job references using the techniques listed in the sections above. While it is ideal for remote workers to have references pertaining to their current work, remote workers can use their previous employers as references or rely on school-related references if necessary.

Most remote workers entering the virtual workforce have already worked onsite positions, may have professional connections or may prefer to reference someone besides a client. However, if you are new to the workforce in general, you may need to explore additional references.

Every reference should be able to speak about your character and work ethic, but good references will be able to mention your specific skills. Depending on your previous work experience, you may use the following contacts as job references when applying for remote positions:

  • Employers or coworkers from work unrelated to your remote work including internships and field experience
  • High school teachers, college professors or athletic coaches
  • Members of organizations at which you have volunteered
  • Neighbors, friends or family members