Calling anyone who works at a university in any capacity (OregonBeast I know you do!)

They are moving me to a different department at work, one where I'm going to have less freedom, less privacy, and a heavier workload. I never liked my job, but it's going from boring to intolerable. I've decided I'm going to cope by throwing all my effort into getting a job at one of the universities around here, because that will allow me to help pay for mine and GreenHunk's education. I'm a little scared to just start applying for every job - why would they bother to notice me? I'm trying to network and stuff - my mom has a contact who is a big deal at the university in my town. Does anyone have any other secrets that will make me stand out?