As recent law school graduates across the country complete the February Bar Exam today, I also completed my “3rd bar exam” … the first draft of The 6Ps of the Big 3™ for Job-Seeking J.D.’s (title subject to change) … 28,949 words and 227 images (screen shots). While this project wasn’t really another bar exam, the experience certainly shared many similarities to my past exams in Texas and Massachusetts.
- No Life: The month before the bar exam is usually the worst. I remember abandoning friends and family during the months before my TX and MA exams. The past month has been the same. I began writing the book in December and hoped to complete a first draft by January 18. That deadline passed and the first draft was not complete. So, I resorted to bar prep type measures and the book consumed every minute of my free time over the past month … just ask my family and friends.
- Voluminous: The volume of information is what makes bar prep so overwhelming. I remember constantly asking myself, “where do I start?” or “what do I really need to know to pass?” There was so much information to include in the book as well — and, much of it was technical in nature. So, I had to determine which details to include and how to present them so others could understand them (and, find them interesting).
- Different Angle: I didn’t want to write a purely technical book (and, I didn’t!). The book focuses on using the Big 3 sites strategically in your job search. Part of my challenge was to identify new angles; there are plenty of articles about Facebook privacy settings or finding jobs on Twitter. I’ve even written about both subjects. I sought different angles that have not been covered. Again, similar to preparing for bar exam essays. How do you structure your essay so that it answers the question but makes you stand out?
- Stopping Point: At some point in your bar prep, you reach a point where you must stop studying. You can just tell that you aren’t being productive – if you haven’t learned the information by that point, you probably aren’t going to learn it. I had to force myself to that same stopping point with this book. Facebook changed its interface twice during the months I wrote the first draft and LinkedIn changed its interface once. I found myself revising to accommodate these changes. Finally, I had to finish. The Big 3 will probably change again before the book is in print — that’s what 2nd editions are for.
- Waiting Game: And, now I get to wait just like the recent graduates completing the bar exam get to wait on their results. I must assign a committee of law students, lawyers and law school career counselors to review the draft of the book and provide feedback. I must obtain certain permissions to use the screen shots I wish to use in the book.
- Spring Results: Most graduates who took the February exam will get results sometime this spring. If my plans go according to schedule, we can expect the book to release in late Spring 2010!