I graduated college in 1998 with a degree in philosophy and creative writing. Graduation was on a Thursday; on Monday, I was working as a Unix systems administrator at a university down the road.
How did I get this job? Experience and networking. I worked in the college IT department as a student, and was for a time the only Unix admin they had(!) But, more important than experience was I started participating in the local sysadmin group. (In those days, it was SAGE affiliated; today's equivalent might be LOPSA affiliated instead or in addition.) I attended meetings for about six months, and even presented. When graduation neared, I started bringing my resume. I got several interviews, and if I recall correctly, several job offers from the folks at the meeting.
Three years later, a local ISP hired me. I had friends who worked there (networking, again), and they had a manager who was very impressed with the Unix book I'd written and published not long before. I only worked there about nine months before I was laid off in the dot-com crash.
From that point, I worked for five or six years as a consultant. I knew a bunch of people from my sysadmin involvement (as well as my involvement in the DC Cypherpunks), so I leaned on those connections to get a business started.
In the end, I decided that I didn't like consulting -- I loved the work, in its variety and high levels of engagement, but I hated having to sell myself over and over, and statements of work aren't much fun to write. So I got a contract position to see if I really wanted to get back into an office.
While I didn't want to work where the contract position put me, I did decide I wanted to work for someone else -- if it was the right job. So I put out feelers to friends, and a former Unix sysadmin I knew was working in Support at a small but growing company. They were hiring, and while I didn't really want to do support it seemed like a great place to be, so I interviewed and was hired.
Four years later I'm still at the same company, solving customer problems from the Engineering side of things.
So how did I get every job? Networking, networking, networking. Ability and experience are helpful, as is your ability to self-promote (these days, by blogging or such is probably the best way to get started), but in the end it's who you know and how they feel about you that matters. Cynical, maybe, but my experience.
The other side of the equation -- where you want to work, if they want you -- is a lot like dating. You have to feel it's a good fit: that you provide something they need or want, and they reciprocate by providing something you need. (Not just money, usually, but a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and ongoing growth.) It should "feel right" to you, something you can get comfortable with and that can grow with you. Like a relationship, you'll know when you've found the right one -- or at least the right one for now.