While document review work is an easy way to make money while you are developing your own solo practice or trying to pay bills between jobs, getting document review work is not always so easy. A few weeks ago, Randall Ryder gave readers great tips on how to stay assertive in your full-time job search. Similarly, it’s important to be aggressive with staffing agencies if you want to avoid those dreaded gaps in employment when you finish a project and want (read: need) a new project to begin soon.
1As soon as you finish a project, send a quick email to the staffing agent who originally booked you for it, as well as any project leaders. There may be unfinished work, such as quality assurance or privilege review, and if you let them know you are ready and willing to work, you may have the opportunity to extend your project for a few days.
2Make a list of contacts for every staffing agency in your city, and email each contact every 1-2 weeks with your availability, information about your most recent project and an attached, updated resume. Most staffing agents go through a list of their most recent contacts when they submit resumes for a project and the more recent you have touched base, the more likely you will be on the top of their resume lists.
3Send an email to your friends. Even if you have signed up for every agency and you diligently email every agent on a weekly basis, your name will still slip through the cracks on some lists. Luckily, if you have ever worked on a document project before, you should have several friends who might be getting the job notices that you aren’t getting. As soon as you finish a project, send a quick email to any of your friends and remind them to forward you information they get about new jobs. Be sure to do the same thing for them. Be sure to make friends when you are on a project, too. You never know who may be a great lead for a future opportunity, both temporary and permanent.
4After you have sent out emails, check out job websites, Craigslist, and the job pages of each staffing agency for updated listings. If you are already registered with any staffing agencies that have job listings, send in your application online and shoot a quick email to your agency contact to let them know you want to be considered for a specific job. If you haven’t registered with a particular agency, it’s time to pick up the phone. Staffing agents get several emails a day, so response time may be a little slow if the agent is not already familiar with you. If you can get someone on the phone, you are more likely to schedule a quick meeting and get on their staffing radar sooner.
5Finally, use your downtime wisely. Hop on LinkedIn and contact other professionals in your area for a networking interview. Volunteer at a legal services clinic. Organize your office. Go to the gym. Work on a marketing plan for your own business. Visit a museum on the free day. Contact your alma mater’s career services to help you with a resume overhaul. Attend a CLE or bar association program. Whatever you do, don’t sleep in or waste time in your pajamas. Cabin fever will soon set in, and you’ll start to feel sluggish and depressed. Instead, try to spend every weekday like any other workday by setting aside at least eight hours to develop new skills, look for work, enrich your life, or tackle that project you always wish you had more time to do.
If you stay busy, aggressive and productive, you should land a new gig in just a couple weeks. No matter what, your hard work during downtime will lay down a pipeline for you to land more temp gigs, attract new clients, or find the job that you really want.