The most potent method to land a job is rarely to answer ads or even to network. For most job seekers, it's to directly contact people with the power to hire you, whether or not they're advertising a job.
Here, I attempt to enhance an excerpt on how to mount a direct contact campaign from a recent Forbes article, The Shortest Route to a New Job."
First, make a list of 50 places of employment at which you might like to work. Figure out who's the person(s) most likely to hire you for your target position, and get in touch.
Divide your list into three groups, A, B and C. The C list is made up of places that would want you though you might not want them so much. The A list is where you most want to work. Start with the C list, then move to the B list. By the time you reach the A list, you'll likely have at least one job offer so you can say to the A employers, "I have another offer but I'd like to explore the possibility of working for you."
Target each letter to the specific place of employment and, ideally, to the person with the power to hire you. Include bullet points outlining your specific accomplishments that would impress that employer.
You might try getting acquainted with the boss’s assistant before sending your letter and e-mail. Introduce yourself, explain why you’re calling, and ask if s/he'd look out for your letter. In the process, weave in a mini sales pitch, for example, "I have ten years of international marketing experience, which I'd imagine could be quite helpful to your boss." Include a Post-it addressed to the assistant, so that when she opens the boss’s mail, you’re addressing her directly.
Leave only one phone message for the boss but do follow up with more calls to the assistant, asking if s/he knows a good time to reach the boss. Try phoning early, before the assistant arrives, or late in the day. Prepare yourself to make at least two calls before you get through to the boss.
There are no guarantees, especially in this almost unprecedentedly tough job market. It really is a jobless non-recovery if not a downright job depression, but direct contact, as outlined here, is for most people, the most likely route to landing a job before you burn out.