Weekly business rail, with job-hunting tips, BBB advice on sticking to a budget and more.

Tip of the Week

Job candidates need to be focused on presenting their best selves for the right opportunities once they come along. So how do you do that? According to Jana Fallon, vice president of staffing at Prudential Financial, "First, arm yourself with a winning resume to get you in the door, and then wow them with a winning interview."

Winning resumes have these elements:

- Contact information. Include your cellphone if that is the best number to call. It is surprising how often job applicants make it hard to reach them. Don't disadvantage yourself - be available when called or emailed.

- Simple, succinct wording. One or two pages is enough detail, longer is too verbose. It should clearly convey why you should land the job.

- Tailoring. You need different versions for different jobs. Help the recruiter easily see the job requirements in your work history. For example, if the job lists project management as a requirement, be sure to include the phrase "project management" in your work history.

Winning interviews

Fallon says, "The interview is your chance to bring your resume to life. Shining in an interview is a skill, and with these insider tips and a little practice, you can get the job you want."

- Research the company and people you'll meet. Read recent news about the company. Find out the background of the people that you will meet. Talk to anyone you know currently working at the firm to get more detailed information about what it takes to be successful in this particular company. You are not expected to be an expert in the particular field, but you should have enough knowledge to formulate meaningful questions to present to the interviewer.

- Prepare a list of questions in advance. Nothing puts a manager off more than someone saying they don't have questions. It shows a lack of interest. The questions you ask convey interest and enthusiasm; if you fail to ask anything of the interviewer, she might assume you aren't interested in the job or the organization.

- Know yourself and your career objectives. Employers are not interested in applicants with undefined career goals; they aim to fill jobs with qualified candidates who have some sense of direction and know how their skills support their job objectives.

- ARA

BBB Watch

The BBB offers these ideas for sticking to a budget:

- Less is more: Cut down on gift-giving. For work gatherings, have everyone draw a name and give one gift. Set limits with family members and then get creative about finding something in your new, lower price range. For the person who has everything, consider making a charitable donation in his or her name.

- Do it yourself: Homemade crafts and decorations can be fun to make and to give. Consider baking or canning your gifts this year. Give gift certificates for future services (babysitting, dog walking, leaf raking) or special events after the holidays (shows, ice skating).

- Reduce, reuse, recycle: Use less of everything, because little things add up. Is it necessary to gift wrap that huge box? How about putting a "clue" under the tree instead and have the recipient find the present hidden someplace else in the house. Reuse gift bags - they are sturdy enough to be used five or six times. Make your own gift tags and decorations. Spray paint old candle holders gold or silver instead of buying new ones.  

- Trim energy costs: Switch to LED lights and you'll not only burn less energy, you'll need fewer strands because the lights are brighter. Turn off your outside decorations when you go to bed. Turn down the thermostat when no one is home. Combine shopping trips and errands, and carpool to family gatherings.  

For more information on holiday shopping and finding businesses you can trust, visit www.bbb.org.

The List

According to the Mercer Quality of Living survey, here are the top 10 cities in the world:

1. Vienna Austria
2. Zurich Switzerland
3. Auckland New Zealand
4. Munich Germany
5. Duesseldorf Germany
5. Vancouver Canada
7. Frankfurt Germany
8. Geneva Switzerland
9. Bern Switzerland
9. Copenhagen Denmark

Number to Know

25 million: Packages that UPS says it expects to deliver on Dec. 22, its busiest day of the year.

Tech Talk

You can track Santa’s progress this year on your smart phone. NORAD’s Santa-tracking website now has apps for Apple and Android products. Find out more information at http://www.noradsanta.org/en/.

GateHouse News Service