There is simply too much demand out there, and limited inventory this time of year.
But, things change every day.
Get that reference from your landlord in writing.
Have your security deposit and rent in hand.
Be ready to explain the credit issue.
Make sure your employer will provide something in writing about your prospect for future employment.
Keep watching craigslist and try Domu, they target the individual landlord.
Best of luck.
If your credit is less than favorable you may want to consider sweetening the deal. Offering to pay a couple months upfront and writing a short note can go a long way. Worst case, maybe you could consider a cosigner?
The rental market is hot and owners are looking for the "best" candidate; don't get too discouraged if a few deals fall through. Just remember to sell yourself and not necessarily what's on paper.
Be prepared to provide more than 1 month in security deposit
Write a Letter of Explanation discussing in an open manor any issues you may have had
Provide Income and Credit info to future landlord
You can try to find a really good leasing agent who works the suburban market. You can also check craigslist. What many renters don't know is they can search for a landlord on craigslist as well. You place your ad under housing wanted. State the the price you are looking to pay, number of bedrooms, and also place in your ad less than perfect credit but have perfect rental history. I personally wouldn't put my phone number in ad but place your email address and I am sure you will get some responses from landlords.