I know this is a problem that afflicts many in the tech comm industry, even now. I can say that it was at least a year for me when I was looking for a full-time job, and I started looking covertly before I even got laid off (I could see the writing on the wall). I agree with many of the points Ms. Ryan points out. So many technical communicators really are multi-talented and can fill a space quickly. I’ve often said that employers are putting out wish lists rather than requirements now to weed people out, instead of seeing potential (like, I know X software, which is similar to the Y software you want me to learn–I could learn it in about 2-3 weeks if given the chance). Little things like that. I find that people in tech comm are the most flexible because they have to be, yet HR doesn’t understand how to see it that way. This is part of the reason that during my presentations of how to look for tech comm jobs that I suggest taking part-time positions. In some cases, it pays more than unemployment, and at least gives prospective employers a chance to see that you are still trying to work, even if it’s just part-time. Sometimes, you come out with a new skill, or at least some skills don’t get rusty long-term.
It’s unfair, but it is what it is. If you are looking for a job and have been looking for a while, take a look at this article.