So, what have I been seeing? Well, I do think things are picking up -- but mainly for people with experience. And, of course, there's many applicants for each job...but the good news is I think I see more jobs out there. Entry level, of course, much harder. Many firms are moving away to the "way we've always done things" and deciding that when they do need to hire again, they can go into the lateral pool.
With a couple exceptions, people I know who have obtained new jobs have gotten them through a combo of qualifications and -- you knew this was coming - networking. With so many people submitting resumes into "blind boxes," it really makes a difference if you can come up with some connection between you and the organization where you are seeking a job. Does your former roommate have a relative who works at XYZ company? It may be they can get your resume in the hands of someone who will pay attention to it. Think about who you may know at the firm/organization where you would like to work. Use sources like Linkedin to look for connections. Don't be shy (well unless you have a job and looking laterally and you need to keep it kind of quiet). Put yourself out there.
Now, if you have someone who helps -- by giving you advice on the phone, by forwarding your resume, etc...make sure you show some appreciation....sometimes HP and HP's friends have helped out and then we never hear from that person. Bad form. Your career is all about building -- building knowledge, building expertise, and yes, building your network. I'm not saying you have to send flowers, but if someone takes time out to help you, you should certainly show some appreciation -- even a short note: Dear HP, I've landed a new job at: XYZ company. Here's my new contact information. Thank you so much for your advice during my search. Please don't hesitate to let me know if I can be assistance, and let's schedule lunch over the next month." Remember - think in the now but look into the future. Build build build.