Drake Law School offers both Fall and Spring recruitment for law students through OCIs and Resume Collect, and we encourage everyone to take a look. The Career Development Office (CDO) administers the process, which helps students conveniently research many different employers.
Students should at least consider whether OCI and Resume Collect could fit their goals. A few common misconceptions surrounding law school recruitment are that (1) only large law firms recruit at this time and (2) only top students can participate. In fact, Drake attracts law firms of all sizes but also government, public interest, and corporate employers in its recruitment program, and there are many opportunities open to students without grade restrictions.
And remember, OCI and Resume Collect are just a few of the many available tools to locate a job. Networking, volunteering, the CDO Resources for Students webpage, Drake job search subscriptions, and of course the Symplicity Jobs employment database should also be part of the job search strategy.
What are OCI and Resume Collect?
OCI and Resume Collect are both part of law school recruitment where students apply through Symplicity and the CDO coordinates the process on behalf of the employer. Both OCI and Resume Collect are open during a set period of time with key deadlines. Specifically,
- OCI is a set period of time where employers collect applications for review and come on campus to conduct interviews or possibly schedule virtual interviews.
- Resume Collect is a way for employers to gather resumes from interested students without necessarily coming to campus for interviews. Some employers opt for resume collect to save costs, travel, and attorney time even though they are still very interested in hearing from interested students. The employers would arrange their own follow-up and interviews according to their schedule and availability.
Interested students submit either their OCI applications or their resumes (for Resume Collect) online through Symplicity. Employers then review the applications and select students they wish to interview. Students may apply to as many employers as they like.
Students should use both OCIs and Resume Collect in their job search process in order to reach as many employers as possible.
Where To Find OCI and Resume Collect
After logging into Symplicity, click on the “OCI” tab on the left of your homepage. From there you will want to select the upcoming session, such as “Fall 2020” or “Spring 2021.” Both OCIs and Resume Collect can be found within that session and you can see the participating employers and their application requirements.
Flexible Schedules and Rolling Deadlines
Although there are often many employers listed at the beginning of a recruitment session, be sure to check back often as employers may be added throughout the session.
Application deadlines are rolling, or spread out through the recruitment session. This gives students more time to research and review their options before having to apply; take note, however, that deadlines are tied to the interview dates, so the earlier the interview the earlier the deadline will be.
The CDO will try to help, but students must keep track of any employer deadlines that interest them. Unlike a job posting, OCI and Resume Collect employers do not see applications on a rolling basis - all applications will be released to employers once the deadline expires.
How To Apply (or “Bid”)
Once students have found the upcoming session, they can review the employers who are currently scheduled to participate – remember to check back often as more employers will be added. Students will only see employers interviewing for their class year so they should make sure their academic profiles are current. Students can see additional firm information by clicking "Review."
If students want to apply (or “bid” as Symplicity calls it) on a position, click the “Review” button to the left of the employer’s name. From the employer’s page, select from the drop-down menu the documents (e.g., resume, cover letter, etc.) requested. Be sure to select the correctly named document for that employer. Once all of the requested documents are uploaded, click on the “Apply” button.
How To Upload Documents
It is important to upload all documents in advance, otherwise Symplicity will not allow students to apply (“bid”) for OCI or Resume Collect.
First, students should upload all requested documents in PDF format through the “Documents” section in Symplicity (on the left-hand side of the student homepage, not in the OCI tab). From the “Documents” tab, click on “Add New,” name the document (unique, identifiable name for each), choose the document type (e.g., “Resume”), select the desired document to upload, then click on “Submit.”
Students may upload more than one cover letter or resume but should mark them clearly with the employer so that they do not send the wrong letter or resume. Try giving each cover letter a unique name that includes the firm name. For example, if applying for the Smith Law Firm, name it "LastnameSmithCL". By calling it Cover Letter, CL2, etc., it will be difficult to select the correct letter for the right employer.
Next Steps After Applying
The following is what students can expect after applying to OCI or Resume Collect – please remember it is key to watch e-mails during this time.
For Resume Collect, there are no further steps to the process through CDO or Symplicity. Employers may contact students directly if they would like to connect or schedule an interview.
For OCIs, the employers will review the applications and identify (“pre-select” as Symplicity calls it) those students they would like to interview. Students can see the “Employer Pre-Select” Deadline within each posting – that is the date employers are scheduled to notify CDO of their selections.
Students can log in and look at their status in the OCI process, however they will receive an email if they have been selected for an interview. Students will see a new “Invitations” column to the right of the “Interview Dates” column.
- Students offered interviews will see “Accept Preselect” and “Decline” buttons. “Preselect” is Symplicity’s terminology for being selected for a first-round, on-campus interview.
- Students not offered interviews may see “Declined” or “Pending” – “pending” usually means that the employer either (1) has not yet made any selections, or (2) has made selections but did not select “Decline” for the application as they scheduled interviews. Keep checking Symplicity for updates and remember that employers sometimes are able to add students later in the process if spots become available.
- If students wish to accept an interview, click “Accept Preselect.” The next screen will show all available interview time slots for that employer. Interview time slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
If a student has already accepted another job, it is perfectly acceptable to decline the interview. Similarly, students may “withdraw” from further OCI consideration. If students need to cancel at the last minute, be respectful and contact the employer to let them know – students should contact CDO if they need assistance or for withdrawing from day-of interviews.
Tips for Scheduling Interviews
- If students are offered multiple interviews, they should not schedule back-to-back times on the same day. Instead, try to reserve time in between interviews to reset and refocus. The CDO recommends a minimum of 30 minutes between interview times (preferably an hour if possible) in case an employer is running behind.
- After selecting an interview slot, students should make sure to note the date, time, and location of the interview, especially if they are managing multiple interviews. Symplicity will have a record of all of the scheduled interviews, but students should also add them to their calendars.
- Students should note whether the interviewers are identified in order to best prepare for the interview. If after checking the posting the interviewers are not listed, students may contact CDO to see if there is additional information available.
- Please try to avoid class conflicts if at all possible. To increase the chances of signing up for an interview slot that does not conflict with class schedules, we recommend students select an interview spot as soon as they are able to in Symplicity. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate with faculty in advance if there is an unavoidable conflict.
- If the schedule simply cannot work, please contact CDO as soon as possible to see if there are any adjustments that can be made.
General OCI and Resume Collect Tips
- Pay attention to the deadlines! CDO staff are unfortunately unable to make exceptions to OCI and Resume Collect deadlines – only employers can grant exceptions and that is rare.
- Should I apply?! YES! Don't self-select yourself out of an opportunity, and don't assume that everyone focuses solely on grades. For firms that have preferred ranges for class rank or GPA, apply if you are close to the cutoff or have some sort of tie/connection to the organization. Also, don't be afraid to apply to opportunities that are outside your comfort zone or particular area of interest or geography - focus on getting good experience. Consider locations outside of Des Moines, as they may have fewer applicants and can provide great opportunities.
- Let CDO Help! Do not hesitate to contact us - we are available to help you prepare!
- Resume – Is yours updated? We are glad to take a look.
- Cover Letter – We can help review and proofread your letters as well.
- Interview Prep- If you have questions about interview skills, what questions to expect, or anything along those lines, set up a time to visit with CDO and we can work with you to prepare. If you are short on time, try recording yourself to see how you answer some sample questions.
- Double-check Your Documents.
- Review your document(s) after upload to ensure accurate formatting.
- Confirm it is the right document! For example, every year we hear from employers that a student has attached the wrong cover letter. Also, are you using your most recent resume with updated grades, honors, and experience?
- Do not include blank pages in your resume.
- Be aware of file size limits.
- Specific Documents Tips
- Writing samples - If an employer requests a writing sample, the majority of 1L and 2L students use a memo or portion of their brief from Legal Writing unless you have a better sample from outside legal employment. Use the best example of your writing, whichever that may be. For 3Ls, consider whether you have something more recent as your older memo/brief is generally no longer the best example of your current abilities.
- Unofficial transcripts - Students can download an unofficial transcript by logging into MYDUSIS, pulling up the grade sheet, and printing to PDF.
- Electronic signatures - For cover letters, we do not recommend simply typing your name in an alternative or cursive font. Instead, use an electronic signature. Try an online tool to create and save a clean, professional signature.
- Out of State job applications. If students are planning to search for employment out of state, the time to talk to the CDO is now as these employers may not always participate in OCI or Resume Collect. We can work with students to identify opportunities, employers, and timelines, depending on the areas of interest.
- Keep Checking the Jobs Tab on Symplicity. In addition to participating in OCIs or Resume Collect, you should always review the Jobs tab since postings are updated regularly.