How to Recruit Service Academy Graduates Without Paying Placement Fees

Recently, Encarta listed the survey results of the top 10 most competitive schools, and 3 of the top ten were this nation’s service academies (West Point, #4, Naval Academy, #5, and the Air Force Academy #6. But unlike Harvard (#2), Yale (#7) or Stanford (#8), where you can recruit off campus, the graduates of these institutions must complete a 5-year service obligation in return for a free education. Once their hats are thrown into the air, they are off to begin serving on active duty in one of the armed forces. As they approach the end of their military commitments, however, some of them begin to prepare for their first civilian career. Below I’ve outlined one way for you to recruit those who have decided to complete their military service at the five-year mark, or later in their military careers, for that matter. So how do you directly recruit these “overachievers,” who are some of the best leaders that America has to offer? Of course, you can use headhunters (expensive), or online job-boards (not as expensive). But you may want to participate in one of the job fairs hosted by the combined Associations of Graduates (U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and their sister academy to the north, the Royal Military College (Canada)). Their job fairs are called the “Service Academy Career Conference (SACC)”. The first SACC was held in 1994, and is now held 3 times a year, annually in Washington DC, Seattle, and Dallas TX. The event in Washington DC has historically been the largest, and is usually filled to capacity in part, because of its proximity to the Pentagon. Both Seattle and Dallas are relatively new cities for the program, but draw strong participation by candidates and companies, as well. Prestigious companies like Proctor & Gamble and Merrill Lynch haven’t missed an event yet, since recruiting academy grads is such an integral part of their recruitment strategy. New additions such as Capital One have made significant reductions in their recruitment expense by going directly to the source instead of using third-party recruitment firms. In the past, recruiting agencies were at the SACC side-by-side with corporate recruiters, but recent changes to the program only permit direct hiring companies, offering a “safe haven” for companies and applicants to mingle without risk of being “beaten to the punch” by an overly aggressive JMO recruiter. Typically 50-75 companies participate with anywhere from 200-450 service academy graduates in attendance, depending on location and time of year. “This is a First Class event,” says Dave Church, Director of Career Programs at the Naval Academy Alumni Association, the organization responsible for coordinating this event. “We have created a unique event for unique individuals. Nowhere else can you attend an event exclusively reserved only for Academy graduates specifically targeting their career transition opportunities. The range of experience and expertise of the Academy graduates runs the gamut from the traditional JMO through senior officers with advanced degrees, and also Academy graduates already in the civilian sector looking to make career moves.” The next event is scheduled for the Washington, DC on May 4-5. Future events are scheduled in Seattle, (Aug 24-25) and Dallas Texas, (Nov 2-3) to make it easier for both graduates and companies located all over the country to participate. You can view details about the event at USNA’s website. At Capital One, Kirk Michealson, Military Recruiting Strategy Manager, states, “We remain committed to bringing the brightest and most talented people on board and vow to our associates to provide a comfortable work environment coupled with incredible growth opportunities. As a retired naval officer, I know Service Academy graduates are high quality talent, that’s why we look forward to attend the Service Academy Career Conferences (SACCs).” <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

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Bill Gaul ( is President and CEO of The Destiny Group, an Internet-based recruiting tool that utilizes the latest patent-pending technology (including audio/visual) for organizations to use to source men and women departing the military services. Endorsed by all of the U.S. Service Academy Alumni Associations, and three times selected as one of the "50 BEST" by CareerXRoads, this online system is the easiest and lowest cost method to reach transitioning military worldwide, without a per-head fee.

Bill's articles are Copyright 2001, The Destiny Group.


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