As I posted before, in "Looking for Dr. Right," I'm on a search committee for a one year job.
Let's imagine, for the sake of this post, that the job is in interdisciplinary basketweaving. We have a fair number of apps from folks with doctorates in interdisciplinary basketweaving. We have some apps from folks with doctorates in, say, underwater basketweaving, with a grad certificate in interdisciplinary basketweaving.
But we also have apps from a couple people in, let's say, tapestry weaving. Their letters say that they're expert tapestry weavers, and thus well-qualified for the job in interdisciplinary basketweaving, because weaving is weaving. Or something.
And it's not that these people aren't smart and good teachers. But they don't have the credential we're looking for.
The letters give me this sense of desperation, of hoping beyond hope that somehow we'll think they're the perfect person for a job in interdisciplinary basketweaving. I remember that desperation from my own job search, and it makes the pit of my stomach ache for them.
What I don't think they realize is that even if no one else applied, we wouldn't be allowed to hire them because they aren't qualified according to our search parameters.
The people with a grad certificate in interdisciplinary basketweaving have that, at least, but they're still not really competitive for the job compared to people who actually did their degree in interdisciplinary basketweaving. We could, conceivably, hire them.