A friend of mine is looking for a new job. She has years of experience in the industry, great technical skills, wonderful contacts, and plenty to brag about. But like most of us, she's stymied when a job ad asks for a cover letter, "complete with salary history and requirements." A recent position opening added, "The salary information is important! If you don't tell us what you want to be paid, we can't tell if we can hire you."
We all know the reasons that employers do this: they want to confirm that your background is somewhere in the right range. And, of course, you know they'll sort the acceptable résumés in order of the cheapest-to-acquire candidates. But it makes the process no less frustrating.