Now, I don’t claim to have the answer, but personally I’ve found that my own pursuits, at least in my field of marketing, have benefited from my continuous personal marketing efforts.
As a marketing professional I am constantly branding myself, reading up on my industry and exploring ways that I can experiment on my own with marketing initiatives that I think are useful--to myself and potentially other businesses (or potential employers).
I’m definitely fortunate that I’m not currently looking for new employment, but when I was in that boat I kept churning away at my own blog and entrepreneurial web presences trying out things that I may not otherwise have had a chance to experiment with in any previous employment. My thought was that I’m marketing myself and my capabilities, and I’m building my own brand (and essentially a portfolio of what I can do), all the while continuing to network with trusted contacts (that’s extremely important). As I got potential employment nibbles I made sure to make known my personal efforts and demonstrate how those efforts could help the potential employer at hand.
My point is, the fact that I never gave up, and never will give up, on improving myself to consistently be marketable to others and grow my skills has landed me more than one role in my career.
My best advice for anyone out of work (and I’m not trying to be insulting if you’re already doing these things with what currently feels like little luck) is to continue to be proactive, think entrepreneurially, take action as opportunities arise, network like crazy and never give up.