Students and especially job seekers, I fear, need to be prepared for weak job markets this year and next, if not longer (depending, of course, on how severe the economic downturn is, whether Bush & his bestiary of madmen start another war, and so on). Not only will state universities likely be doing less hiring, but the catastrophic June in the stock markets means that a lot of faculty who might have been thinking about retiremement in the coming year are going to postpone given the huge losses most will have suffered.
But how to "prepare"? If you can delay a full search, do so (searching selectively may make good sense, i.e., targetting jobs for which you are a perfect 'fit'). Do not defend your dissertation until a job offer is in hand--PhDs "go stale" quickly, and you don't want to be a 2008 PhD who, because of general market trends, is still looking for a tenure-stream position in 2011. (I must say this is a really crazy aspect of the job market: everyone knows the market is tight, that most philosophers are, in one sense or another, "under-employed" in their first position [even when it is tenure-stream!], and that multiple searches over multiple years are the norm--yet still there is a tendency to draw unfavorable inferences when the job seeker has a PhD that is several years old, and no tenure-stream job.) And think ahead in terms of funding possibilities that will sustain your time in graduate school. The economic indicators remind me, at least, of the job market in the early 1990s, not the relatively robust market of recent years (and even that, as job seekers well know, was no cake walk). In the early 1990s, there were 2.3 candidates per job advertised (this presents an unduly rosy picture, for reasons I've discussed before); by the early 2000s, that was down to 1.4. I expect we will be back at 2.3 before long, if we are not there already.