Stephanie Houston’s saga is all too common these days.
Armed with a master’s degree in architecture and six years of professional experience, Houston currently is hunting for work in San Francisco after getting laid off from a U.K.-based firm in October. She is taking all of the necessary steps: finessing her resume and portfolio, scouring the Web for job openings, networking at full-throttle. She even printed her own business cards. Ever determined, Houston has contacted 30 firms in the Bay Area; so far, only one has invited her in for an exploratory interview, in case it might be hiring in the future. “I’m trying to make the most of it,” she says, “but it’s frustrating at times.”