In addition to taking the time to carefully craft a customized resume and cover letter for every job you apply for, you need to take it a step further. It's critically important to manage your job search and to be able to respond immediately to job openings you're qualified for, to inquiries from employers and to be able to follow up on jobs you've applied to and contacts you have reached out to.
That's not always that easy. There are so many facets of job searching today - applying for jobs, resume posting, connecting on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, professional branding - that it can be hard to keep track. As your job search continues you need to keep all of the facts organized (including networking). The amount of data collected grows exponentially and it is very easy to get buried under all that data and miss follow-up opportunities or appointments.
When the job market is difficult, it's really important to effectively manage your job search. It's not just a question of creating your resume, writing a quick cover letter and applying for jobs. There are fewer positions available and more candidates for every job opening. You not only have to be competitive - you have to be super-competitive and be able to make a strong positive impression on every hiring manager, recruiter and networking contact.