It’s certainly no secret: The job market has been as sparse as a Sahara tree farm, as fierce as the annual Utah vs. BYU football game, and as exhausting as trying to keep up with Apple’s latest products.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great job. It just takes a little extra effort and attention to detail. Some key strategies, like the ones listed below, won’t hurt either.

Determine goals and skills

These tasks aren’t mutually exclusive. You need a clear understanding of what you want out of your next job. If you have an MBA, your goals will reflect that experience.

Once you’ve solidified your personal goals, you can identify the skills you possess that will help you attain those goals. Within that framework, you can further refine your list of skills to effectively match each prospective employer’s needs.

Bolster an Online Image

In 2012, you can safely assume employers will scour the Internet for any red flag online info about prospective hires. Review your social media pages, then delete photos, tags or comments that could be viewed as questionable. It’s also important to recognize the line between acceptable and unacceptable within the particular industry you’re seeking. With job opportunities few and far between, it’s a shame to see a well-qualified business school graduate get passed over because of one sarcastic post or comment.

Details, details

Do you want a job that a hundred others have applied for? Don’t assume your talents and background alone will render your dry thank you email or resume generated from a Word template effective—
do something different with your resume and cover letter. Try a header with an image that establishes consistency among all your application-related documents.

Use creativity professionally and consider things like a customized thank you card featuring the reci