This is a list of tips for job searchers in high-tech fields I compiled based on my experiences working for a major employer in New England. I've seen a lot of people come in through the door in the past couple of years.
1) Get on Monster.com. Brutally reject companies/situations you're not interested in. If you like the company, but are dubious about the job check it out. Many respectable large companies use Monster far more than is appropriate. Make sure your buzzwords are appropriately called out in the resume -- don't get too technical or it may not pass the initial HR screen. Don't go overboard or you'll be tortured on the interview.
2) Craigslist. For my fellow Harvard alums, harvard-jobs and harvard-startups mailing lists. Spotty but sometimes gold.
3) Informal groups like Bar Camp, Pito Salas' occasional geek meetups, Providence Geeks meetings at AS220, Brown Forum for Entrepreneurs.
4) Temp-to-perm rarely works for big companies (but is great for others). Many big companies specifically prohibit permanent contractors or temp conversions for legal reasons. Temp benefits will always suck and rarely get better. Understand this up front.
5) Apply directly to jobs in the right field at large companies. They are probably using the recruiter who will fill the job you want. They may drop hints about other jobs to apply for. If someone you've talked to previously tells you about an opening, they may be indirectly trying to tell you to apply (see #6).
6) However annoying it is, apply to each position separately at large companies. They are moving to highly legalistic processes to prove sufficient applicants were considered and that applicants weren't informally screened out using discriminatory practices. We can't even accept resumes at job fairs anymore -- all we can do is hand out business cards and ask people to go online. This is having a devastating affect on recruit quality.
7) Stay away from major companies with weak financials. Even if they are hiring, the process will be slow and painful. And then you might get laid off. On second thought, apply but don't hold your breath.
8) You can't fight the tide. The market has gone from gangbusters to tight to approaching gangbusters at the beginning of this year (those who didn't prepare for their 2007 hires got burnt). When times are tight, be happy at the job you have -- the entire process turns slow, crowded, and painful.
9) Look at major venture capital websites in the area. Find who they've funded. Haunt the funded company websites and try to network through #3. You'll meet prefunding high-risk people in the bunches through #3. Might find the perfect opportunity, but hard to be patient if you're unemployed. Better to stick with funded if you have no job.
10) Check specialty job boards. Like joelonsoftware.com or a specific new field you're good at. Once everyone finds them, they're useless. But in the beginning, there can be some spectacular finds. They're looking for a mindset and a community outside the norm, not the riffraff from craiglist or monster. Play the card if you fit.
11) Either hop immediately if its a bad job (and neglect on resume or straight up explain as bad fit) or wait it out 18-24 months.
12) Figure out a way for people to contact you. I recommend a prepaid cellphone. I've got a Virgin Mobile one in a desk drawer that I can activate for $10 in 10 minutes. I have seen some great potentials get dropped cold after too many conversations with a stay-at-home spouse while trying to connect to Ms. Right. Doing screening interviews in the parking lot isn't pretty, but it works. Though check reception first.
13) If you are off the market, pull your resume from Monster, etc. We are unlikely to try again when you're back on. Off the market means not returning emails/phone calls quickly and in a professional manner. A quick professional no is always understood.
14) If you are in the slightest doubt, do not quit your current job until after you have passed the drug test. If you are going for a job requiring a security clearance, talk to a friend about the process to see if you have any red flags that will hold things up (foreign spouse, extensive foreign travel, credit problems are a start). 75% of people can get an interim clearance in two weeks after computer background and credit checks are completed which is more than enough to get lots of real work done. Some people will take years for no discernable difference. It may be 2+ years before you're in the job you were hired for. Your new career will be much more likely to take off if you're part of the 75%. This warning does not apply to entry level (some delays are assumed in hiring).
15) Figure out if you're a big company or a small company person. Neither wants to hire the other type if possible. Do not mix the two resumes and get advice from someone knowledgable to rewrite your resume and retailor your interview if you're looking to switch. If you're a big company person, look up the top 5 or 10 employers in the area. Figure out which ones suck (work conditions, products, management, etc.). Watch the survivors' websites like a hawk. There are only a few actual choices for most big company people.
16) Make sure you get hired into the right group in large companies if career prospects are a major concern. There are some very tempting job writeups that are absolute dead ends. You want to be in big groups where you have a mainstream skill set. Army of one is great if you're happy to stay where you land.