Prior to a company making you an offer, the only thing the salary can do is screen you out. What we generally call the hiring process is really more of a screening process. The first pass your resume gets with a hiring decision maker or with personnel is almost always a screening pass.
Employers receive hundreds — if not thousands — of resumes, and they need to whittle them down to a handful to interview. Ironically if you add salary to a resume as extra information in an effort of goodwill, rather than get you “in,” that information might knock you out of contention. Given two resumes one with a salary, and one without a salary, this salaried resume is at a disadvantage.
Pretend you’re in human resources screening resumes. One of the resumes has salary information on it and odds are it is either too high or too low. That resume gets put into the screen-out pile. Even when it is compared to another resume that has no salary information, it is at less of an advantage because salary acts as something to screen you out not screen you in.
So while it looks like a gesture of goodwill, openness, and frankness, it really is an excuse for someone to put your resume in the “do not consider” pile.
— Jack Chapman