How Recommendations Could Help You Land Your Next Contract Gig

One of the biggest concerns of all contractors when a contract ends is how long will it be until I get another pay cheque? One tip that a lot of people don't maximise to their full advantage is 'recommendations'. After you finish a contract, try and get as many recommendations from your boss or colleagues as you can.  All future employers want to know is you are great at what you do and having people vouch for you is a very powerful way to achieve this.  This form of recommendation is also called Social Proof and it works on many fronts and not just work related.  One of the most successful examples is Amazon reviews.  If I can see that a lot of people have reviewed a certain product, I am a lot more likely to buy it, compared to the product that has nothing. Nowadays, there are multiple different sources to get recommendations, LinkedIn, your blog, and your CV.  One of the main reasons I didn't do this when I started out was a simple matter of not knowing how to ask someone.  After a few fumbles I found a pretty good approach that seemed to work.

  • Explain the reason for asking for a reference
  • Explain why I value that person’s professional expertise enough to use them.
  • Help them out by providing a template/ideas of what you are looking for
  • Give them an out, if they don't want to help, then that's fine.
  • Thank them

To give you an idea what to write, I use something similar to this: Dear Person, I am writing to ask a huge favour, as I will be looking for work again shortly I wonder if you could write a few words of recommendation on my behalf to use on my blog and LinkedIn profile.  I always respected your professional judgement while we worked together so any kind words you can spare will help me out a lot.

I have included a list of bullet points you might consider using as a template.

Include Bullet Points

If, for any reason you don’t feel comfortable providing a recommendation, then I completely understand.

If you start asking a lot of the people you work with, your boss, clients, you'll soon build up a respectable feedback system.

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Jon D Jones

Software Architect, Programmer and Technologist Jon Jones is founder and CEO of London-based tech firm Digital Prompt. He has been working in the field for nearly a decade, specializing in new technologies and technical solution research in the web business. A passionate blogger by heart , speaker & consultant from England.. always on the hunt for the next challenge

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