Last summer my family took a road trip across the country. We drove through thousands of miles of prairie land. At times we would go for hours on two-lane rural roads. We would go entire days without seeing shopping malls or suburban developments. At night we stayed in small motels frequented by truckers, bikers, and a few other sight-seeing families. During the day, our only contact with civilization might be a road-side gas station with a small selection of cold beverages and the obligatory rack of key chains by the cash register.
During this time I had no access to e-mail or voice mail. And as the week droned on, I had a remarkable thought as we whizzed by an endless hayfield. "I am irrelevant here." Okay, maybe not me personally, because all humans have worth and value in the eyes of God. But the work that I spend my days doing is SO very irrelevant here. These folks do not care one bit about my blog, about career assessments, about organizational design, or about cross-functional training. They are singularly focused on getting the crop in and preparing for winter. The skills I have are of no use to them in these pursuits. Therefore, while they are likely perfectly friendly people who would be kind and helpful if I needed it, they are not going to go out of their way to seek me out to befriend me or to "network." We're not a match, so to speak.
This same phenomenon happens occasionally in the job search. It may be possible that a candidate comes to me with an incredible skill set, a strong work history, and a great personality. But if his skills are irrelevant to my needs, I simply can't spend a lot of time on him. I will always take the time to encourage him whenever possible, but I need to keep working toward the match.
Not being a match is not necessarily a bad thing. Once I got over how strange it felt to be irrelevant, I found myself able to relax much more and enjoy myself. I found that I liked being in a situation where my skills and work history didn't matter, and what others around me were doing was much more important. It was interesting to watch people engaged in their work and appreciate that I didn't know how to do (or need to do) what they were doing. It made me unexplainably happy to think of so many people in the world working productively to keep it all going - I truly felt gratitude for my fellow man.
So here's my point if you are in the middle of a job search: don't be afraid to acknowledge that you may be irrelevant for some jobs that you are tempted to go for. You may have all the skills in the world, but if you are not a match for a particular job, learn to let go of wanting that job, and step back and admire the people who can do it. I suspect that you will find that you appreciate your fellow man more, and you will free yourself up to find the place where you are a match.