Posted By: Deanna DeBenedictis

In an increasingly competitive job market, it's tempting to fudge the facts here and there to put yourself in front of the competition. In fact, one survey suggests that as many as 34 percent of job seekers have lied on a resume, most commonly about education, employment history, job titles and skills.

The bottom line, however, is that in the eyes of an employer, something you may consider an "embellishment" is considered a lie when it's discovered. Background checks have become increasingly thorough, especially in a highly regulated industry such as finance.

The damage to your professional integrity and, therefore your employability isn't worth it. Here's how to avoid telling tales.

Gaps in your employment history – Detail what you were doing when you were unemployed, such as volunteering or taking a class. Both of those things may have added to your skillset.

Job title – Are you contributing more than your title suggests? For example, maybe your title is administrative assistant, but you also handle invoicing, payments received and balancing the books each month. Include those details in interviews and on your resume, but don't give yourself a title you don't have.

Skills – Having taking an Excel class first semester of freshman year doesn't necessarily make you proficient or advanced. If the job you really want requires advanced skills, sign up for classes to gain or improve them. This also demonstrates initiative and drive to succeed.

Salary – Even if you feel underpaid, you should be truthful about salary, which is easily verifiable during reference checks. Giving an estimate or range is OK, or include all compensation, i.e. "My salary was in the $XX range, with a 10 percent annual performance bonus, and competitive benefits." During an interview or salary negotiation, know the industry standard for the position and be willing to discuss why you felt you were underpaid as you move forward.

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