Wow, what a week it’s been!  While I’m certainly not going to jump to any wild conclusions, or claim that the recession is now in the rear-view mirror, I can report some very positive news — which is that no fewer than eight Career Horizons clients have landed new jobs over the past seven days!

This is a tremendous run, statistically speaking, and hopefully serves as a sign of good things to come for September and beyond.  Lest there be any confusion, too, at least four of the folks who recently updated me on their status used the words “dream job” to describe their new position — and none of the eight has taken what might be considered a “survival” job where they settled for something far below their capabilities.

So in light of this sudden happy uptick, I’m going to dust off some advice I always love to give, which is a checklist of steps that I encourage all newly-landed professionals to go through in order to wind their search down on the most successful note possible:

#1. Thank the Academy.  Everybody and their brother these days is craving some positive news, so don’t miss this golden opportunity to spread some good cheer, for a change!  As soon as your new job is solidified, send out an e-mail to all of the friends, contacts, and acquaintances you’ve corresponded with during the course of your job search — no matter how peripherally they were involved — and share your good news and a few pertinent details about where you’ve ended up.  Thank them wholeheartedly for their support, of course, and graciously offer to reciprocate and return the favor any way you can, down the road.

#2. Give SPECIAL Thanks to Key Supporters. Once you’ve sent out the group message, above, make a point to extend special appreciation to the handful of folks who were the most supportive/helpful of all during your search.  If appropriate, give them a special gift (e.g. a great book, gift card, sports tickets, etc.) that you know they’ll love or will be able to put to good use.  Or as an fun alternative, invite your cadre of key allies out to a celebration dinner or cocktail hour.  Letting them bask in your success will be the single most effective way to ensuring they’ll help you again in the future, should you ever need it!

#3. Update Your LinkedIn Profile. As soon as you have your new job title and start date nailed down, make sure to update your LinkedIn profile (and any other social media sites you frequent) with your new information.  This is not only a good habit to get into, in the spirit of creating maximum ongoing marketability for yourself, but LinkedIn will automatically display your news in the “Network Updates” tab of the site — which could lead to everything from some friendly atta-boys to some unexpected business opportunities!

#4. Capture Lessons Learned. While I’ve got a whole page in my workbook about this, it’s right near the end, and I suspect many people forget it’s there or never quite come across it in the first place.  In my opinion, however, every successful job hunter would do themselves an immeasurable favor if they simply took 20-30 minutes, once they’ve locked down a new position, to think back on the course of their job hunt and capture any key insights, wisdom, or lessons learned that came out of the experience.  These kinds of transitions can be a time of great clarity and personal/professional growth, so if you fail to write these lessons down and capture them, in concrete form, they may be lost — and you may be doomed to repeat them down the road!

For example, as an idea of what you might journal about, ask yourself: What did I learn about the value of networking and relationships during this process?  What did I learn about my strengths?  My weaknesses?  What did I learn about the right and wrong ways to conduct a job search?  What challenges did I overcome that I can be proud of?  What new habits will I try to maintain, going forward, to avoid finding myself in this position again?  I wish I could say that no clients of mine have ever “fallen back asleep at the wheel” and ended up repeating the same bad habits that caused them career distress in the first place, but sadly, that just isn’t the case…

#5. Pay it Forward. This one should be simple, but I’ve seen lots of people violate it.  If you’re like most job hunters, you’ve likely experienced some moments of angst and frustration during your search at some of the flaky, rude, and unprofessional behavior you’ve encountered from both employers and other individuals in your network.  Have people blown off your calls?  Have companies not communicated with you clearly?  Have people promised you introductions and favors, but never come through with them?  It’s time you commit to being part of the solution, not part of the problem.  Fight the temptation to repeat these same sins, going forward, when you’re hiring new employees or when anxious folks come to you for a helping hand with their career situation.

Landing a new job is always a great experience, and by applying the five simple steps outlined above, you can make this exciting time even more meaningful and powerful both for yourself and those around you.  Now I’ve just got one last piece of advice to pass along…

#6. Enjoy Your Final Days of Freedom! Were you smart enough to negotiate a delayed start date for your next assignment?  Good for you!  Now go enjoy that last week or two before you start punching a clock again.  Chances are that your job search hasn’t felt like much of a “vacation” so far, so it’s time to let your hair down, relax, and do some much-needed recharging before you report for duty…