How to Get References for Your Gig Work


If you work a lot of different gigs, especially short-lived ones, it can be difficult to find references. When you leave a great impression on managers, though, references will come more easily. In order to provide good references for your gig work, there are some specific things you can do. You want to maximize your chances of being remembered positively, so references will be easier to get.

A good reference from a past gig might be just the thing you need to land an amazing job. Here’s what to think about. 

Use Direct Contacts for References

When providing references for your gig work, make sure you use a direct contact. That’s especially true if you’re using a gig platform for work. You don’t want to just direct people to the platform for a reference, because they won’t be getting information from a real person. They might see a profile you have there or other information, but that’s not the same as asking a human being about your performance or what they like about you.

Do some networking with others on the platform, and especially with your on-site or hiring manager, so you can have a better chance of using them for references in the future.

Ask Before Using Someone as a Reference

If you’re doing well in your gig work, ask your direct manager if you can use them as a reference. If you have other higher-ups you’ve been networking with, you might also want to ask them if they could provide a reference for you, as well. Whether you’re trying to get a letter of reference you can keep in your files or you’re more interested in having people who will accept a phone call from a potential new employer, be sure to ask before assuming. It’s not good etiquette to just assume people will be a good reference, and some people might decline to be a reference at all. 

Make Sure You Have the Right Information

To have a good reference from someone, you need to make sure a potential employer can contact them properly. Get their full name, title, company name, and contact information. When listing them as one of your references, let the potential employer know that your reference was from gig work. Then let the reference know you listed them so they can anticipate the contact. People are generally more likely to reply when they know they’ve been recently listed as a reference. They understand that it’s important to you and may affect whether you get a particular job.

Since gig managers often have a revolving door of workers, it’s very important to make sure you’re leaving a distinct impression on them. You’ll also want to ask for explicit consent before listing them as a reference, so you don’t frustrate or annoy them. If they don’t want to be a reference for you, that will give them a chance to say so Then you’ll know not to include them when you offer references to a company where you’re applying for work. Having a potential employer call a manager that doesn’t remember you can hurt more than harm, so make sure you’re networking and being clear with anyone you want to use as a reference.

About the Author: Michelle Dakota Beck has worked as a professional freelance writer since the 1990s. During that time she has written everything from product descriptions to full-length books. Her areas of specialization include real estate, home services, legal topics, relationships, family life, and mental health issues. You can find her on WriterAccess.

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