I hate looking for jobs because it seems like it's nothing more than selling yourself. (I feel some comment coming from Eugene for this one.)
You asked for it, and here it is. :D
You gotta differentiate selling yourself from selling whatever you can do. In no case the company is buying you as a whole. Hell, you're not a slave to anybody.
The company just needs to get some job done, and if you can do it for a reasonable price, the deal is made. If not, well, tough luck, for both sides -- you and the company. It may seem to you that the company has multitude of other candidates just like you to choose from, whereas you have only a couple of options. Not true. First of all, for most small-to-medium-sized companies, staffing is very tough; finding a suitable candidate for a given job is one of the biggest headaches that every company has. It's not like they are being picky just because they like being a picky prick. They're being picky because they know it's a serious thing. If they hire someone underqualified, they're not gonna get the job done. If they hire someone overqualified, they're gonna end up spending too much to pay the employee and thus ruining their finance. In either case, the project and/or the company itself might crash. For this reason, it's often the case for a job spot to go unfilled for months.
Now, from your point of view... It's also a matter of choice. How many companies do you think you can shoot for at any given time? The answer is: Unlimited. You look at the job description, and if you think you can fill in the spot however remotely, go send in your resume anyways. In absolutely no case chicken out and give up sending the resume in just because you think you aren't exactly up to the level they require. They're gonna decide if you're up to their expectation; that's what interviews -- both phone and in-person -- are for.
When I searched for a job back in 1997, I sent out my resume to more than 100 companies. 20 or so gave me a phone interview. 5 gave me a chance for an in-person interview. The first company that I interviewed in-person made me an offer which I found reasonable enough, so I took it and politely declined the other 4. And here's the important thing: The other 4 companies
understood -- that, as much as they had a right to choose among multiple candidates, I, an applicant, also had a right to choose among multiple companies. It's not rude or anything. It's a normal part of the process -- no HR representative in his/her sane mind should take your declination personally. Hell, it's not a good sign anyways if he/she does, because it means the company views their employee as a will-less slave.
Of course, a major point of getting a job is to earn money. However, one thing you should keep in mind is that money is only one of the factors that make you happy. In fact, the top reason employees leave a company for another job is not because of money, but because of some other factors such as workplace drama, nature of work, workload and stuff. And also, for example, I as a manager wouldn't hire someone if he/she were doing some major ass-kissing and being all like
Please hire me, please ^^ -- it's not a good sign if an employee is just in for the money and not for the work itself. Because it means he/she will leave the company as soon as he/she finds a better-paying job, and if he/she does, I'll have to go through the stupid hiring process again for another person to fill in the spot, during which the work project will inevitably stall.
So yes, you can and should have a number of options presented before you, and you should pick one that gives you not just $$$ that you need, but a satisfactory
total experience. If a company treats you like shit, just ditch it. It ain't worth the headache you'll suffer from once you get hired. (Ever worked in a company that treated you like shit? It's seriously unhealthy for your mental integrity.)