Submitting websites to DMOZ and Yahoo directory is something you can do, but this is nothing that will have impact for the short term. You will possibly have to wait months until you got registered.
If you want to link exchange, donīt do it in a reciprocal way. Focus on your niche. If you donīt have the big budget for link buying, go for just a few quality links. Increase your social media activity, that will might give you some short term ranking boosts.