I would like some advice on how to go about offering myself for any kind of research experience at a local physics/astroph. department(in the US). I am a graduating senior who isn't going to grad school this year, so formal REU's aren't an option (not to mention they always conflicted with my exams as I attend university abroad). Would profs entertain such an idea if they thought I was qualified? (note: I am a US resident and will probably be working anywhere else just to cover expenses for a while, so this may be a part time thing unless I could get on some kind of funding). I have little prior experience (currently doing a project in a related field) but a hell of a lot of drive and work ethic. Would emailing a short question to a prof along with a CV be a good idea or should I hold off on the CV until they express an interest? Should I wait contacting them until the summer when I'll actually be available?