If you have a real good relationship with a client or 2 or 3, what would be a good way to ask him or her for permission to use them as a personal reference for future endeavors or very near future endeavors. Is this considered unprofessional?
There are two kinds of references. Personal and professional. Former clients will likely only give you a professional reference. “Jane Doe applied her considerable talent to Project X, resulting in stellar sales and improved market share. Not only would I recommend her, but I would hire her again when a project requires it… yada yada yada…”
If I were hiring, anything other than a professional reference would make we wonder. I would only look at personal references if I wasn’t quite sure of your personality during the interview. But, if I had to do that, you probably wouldn’t get the job.
…this would be for a professional referance.