You have learnt and honed the skills you need to get a job.
You are now an amazing coder, kudos! It’s time for you to start thinking of looking for a real job, right? Isn’t that your ultimate goal?
Well, hold your horse we are almost there.
It’s time to collect those recommendations first. This is where your previous clients really come in. So if you did a diligent job before, sit back relax the recommendations will come after you.
Approach your previous clients who you worked with and see if they can recommend you for a job.
You could call this a testimonial or so, they are the same thing. You can get started in one of two ways…
If you just collect recommendations from anywhere they might look scammy on your profile.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile yer, head over here LinkedIn.com and create one.
This is the time to spice up your LinkedIn profile.
Add the recommendations you collected from clients to your profile on LinkedIn.
Add your previous projects too on LinkedIn.
It will be easier for someone to counter check your recommendations against your projects to ascertain the validity of your recommendations.
You can either decide to do this formally or informally depending on how you related with your client.
A recommendation on your profile will add a great deal of credibility to your portfolio.
Recommendations from clients you actually previously worked with are stronger than those from people who you didn’t work with yet.
When you need a recommendation from your past client, it is important that you ask in the right way and at the right time.
You need to be sure that the person who is recommending you for employment is willing and able to give you a good reference.
That’s really important because your references can be what makes the difference in getting – or not getting – a job offer.
When seeking a recommendation, approach clients who will say something positive about your work ethic.
When a client says he is pleased with your work, use that opportunity to ask for a recommendation.
Do this promptly after completing the work and after the client has expressed satisfaction. If you wait too long, such as months or years later, a client may not remember you and your work performance.
It is easier to craft a great recommendation when everyone is happy and in a good mood.
Besides, this is the golden opportunity when you got their attention, ask for the recommendation.
Before requesting recommendations, review your past projects to determine whom to contact.
If you haven’t spoken to a client in a long time, call him to re-connect with him.
If necessary, remind him of the work you did for him and request a recommendation.
Say why you need the recommendation and why you chose him. You might say something like:
If you stayed in touch with the client, you may send them an email to request the recommendation.
Simplify the recommendation process by doing some of the work for your clients.
Create an outline or draft of the points you want the recommendation to address.
This saves your client from having to think of what to say. Avoid telling him specifically what to say about you. Instead, focus on bullet points that serve as a guide or starting point for what the letter should include.
People don’t want to be tasked to think.
If you make the mistake of having your reference to think hard about what particularly to write, how to write it and whether it’s what you expect, you might lose on the opportunity to get a reference.
For example, you might ask:
Asking questions will give him a guideline on what to think and probably write about.
This will ensure that the recommendation is actually useful and relevant to the job opportunity you are pursuing.
If your client is more friendly then you might consider sending them a written draft recommendation to consider.
If they probably already liked you much, they will not mind endorsing your draft word for word.
They’d be happy you saved their time too
Thank the client for the recommendation to show your appreciation, and offer to return the favor if they ever need it.
You could send a handwritten thank you note or offer incentives, such as a credit or discount for each successful client you gain through him. Or you might send them a small, thoughtful gift.
Phone or email the client periodically just to see how their business is doing.
Writing you a recommendation does not have to mean the end of your communications for ever.
Your past client might as well directly recommend you for a job at a company they know that is hiring thereby even making your job search easier.
Seek to use every chance to build more trust with you client.
Did you have success collecting recommendations from clients?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Geoffrey is an experienced software developer and open source evangelist. When not coding he writes and talks about current technology trends, small business tips and developer productivity hacks. He is no coffee addict.
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