Job picture gloomy? Top 10 tips for finding your next job.

Building and maintaining a career has never been more complex. Thursday's jobless claims numbers indicate an improving employment picture, but jobs are still scarce. Economic turmoil and rapid technological and organizational shifts are making it difficult for even highly talented executives to figure out their next career move. Whether you’re a senior executive or a rising professional, here are 10 ways to take control of your personal career growth and find your best job ever:

Photo illustration/Eric Audras/Altopress/Newscom/File
Don't look for an offer from another company just to get a better deal with your current employer. Wait until you're ready to move.

1. Define what you want

Steven Senne/AP/File
Linda A'Vant Deishinni listens to a speaker during a job search seminar at a state managed employment center in Providence, R.I., Nov. 5, 2009. Ms. Deishinni was laid off in June 2009 from her job as a museum educator at Brown University. To get started in figuring out your next career move, do a 'career audit' of your past positions.

It can take a senior level executive six to 12 months to find a new job. Don’t waste time by setting off in the wrong direction. Engage in a “career audit” of past positions to define what you liked and disliked about each job. Know what is nonnegotiable for you as you start the search. Identify companies that you’d like to work for – and your motivation for selecting them.

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