Here's something no one told you about the job search these days – your skills at the job search aren't worth what they once were. Things are tougher, tighter, meaner, and stranger than before the recession.
If you're bad at the job search, you are screwed. You might get lucky, hopefully you will, but the odds are against you.
if you're average at the job search, you're in for the long haul. You don't stand out, you don't have an edge, you don't have something special to help you.
If you're good at the job search, you're going to be OK, but it's not always going to be easy.
If you're excellent at the job search, you'll find a job. But it's not going to be like it was.
The terrible job market, the demographic shifts, the changes to HR have brought home one terrible truth that not enough people are talking about – your job search skills matter more than ever.
The frustrating part is thanks to poor training, encouragement, schooling, etc. a lot of people aren't that good at the job search in the first place.
If enough people weren't screwed by high unemployment, an ineffective gridlocked government, and everything else, they're also coping with bad search skills. I doubt the various people who (mis)instructed these folks realized how bad it would be, but there you go.
Worse? There's probably a bit more work out there now than people think, but it's harder to get due to insider approaches, bad HR, and so on. So people who are just average or bad at the job search aren't going to pierce the veil of mystery and B.S. as easily.
So yeah, good and excellent are your hopes for survival. Bad and average mean you're in trouble.
Oh, and no one pointed this out.
(If you're in the wrong industry, or have the wrong skillet, you're even more hosed, unfortunately).