The job market would have been much better if employers felt better about taxes, health care costs and how the political winds will be blowing. Their concerns are no longer limited to just the economy. That in itself might be a positive sign that the nation's employers have shifted from being overwhelmed by the downturn to factoring in other possible constraints on their businesses.
For the jobs that are there, how can members of the class of 2011 get an edge? Well, employers want to get more done with less. That means you present yourself as a solution to a number of challenges or useful in more ways than the job description demands. For example, as an English major applying for a coordinator position, you also explain how you can pitch in on report writing, editing, proofreading, and formatting for the computer.
That tactic entails setting yourself apart from the competition or, as management guru Tom Peters called it, creating your own brand identity.