(Or in any economy.)
You’ve probably heard the saying, “It’s not what you know – it’s who you know”, and to a certain extent I believe that’s the case. That’s not meant to be discouraging — you don’t have to know high-powered people in order to find a job.
But it does help immensely if you know someone (and all of us know people.)
It helps not because those someones can necessarily get you a job, but because the more people you know and ask regularly about potential job openings, the more likely you are to find out about the potential job openings in the first place. Don’t just ask them once either; ask at regular intervals so they don’t forget that you’re looking for a job.
Once you find out about an opening via someone you know, that person can (if appropriate) submit your name as a potential applicant. This gives you an advantage over someone just applying right off the street.
Which doesn’t mean that you should neglect applying off the street either. It takes some extra time, but it can pay to tailor your resume and cover letter specifically to the job you are applying to. Use the same keywords they do, and use details and action words when describing your experience and why you are a good fit for the job.