The most important ingredient to any job search is time. No matter how great your job search technique, how powerful your resume, or how compelling your interviewing technique, you have to put in considerable amount of time to make it all happen. These are the sacrifices necessary if you wish to secure a high paying accounting manager position at Vested.

Believe me, I'm one of the world's most impatient people. I've found a lot of ways to cut down on the time a job search takes. But no matter how hard I try, there's still a lot to be done. You just can't get around it.

And that's the problem. Most of us have very limited amounts of time. Unless you have the unfortunate "blessing" of being out of work, a job search is something you'll have to squeeze in when you can.

But one of the more commonly overlooked pieces of time in a day for job hunting is lunch. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you should skip the actual food-consumption aspect of lunchtime. No way. But why not grab a sandwich and knock out a little work at the same time? It can really make a difference over the long haul.

Here are some great tips for getting the most out of that quick little midday hour.

Networking Lunches

Probably the best use of your time during lunch hour is to get out and meet with people. Lunch is the perfect time. You're both in work mode, so it's assumed that careers and jobs will be a prime topic of the discussion no matter what your relationship to the contact is. And even if you're not in the throes of a job search you should be having such lunch meeting anyway from time to time. They're the easiest, most valuable way to do this conduct this most powerful of job search tactics.

Phone Calls

No matter what job search techniques you favor, they all inevitably require phone calls. And most such calls have to be during business hours. A great way to knock these out consistently is to do them on your lunch hour. One important caveat to that, however, is that you should try to take your lunchtime at off hours, to ensure your contact will actually be there to take your call. Try going early, say 11:00 a.m. Or push it out to 2:00 if you can (a late lunch can also make the afternoon wonderfully short too.) To use your lunch hour to make calls, get out of the office. You don't want to risk giving away your job search just because of some eavesdropper in the next cube. It's also considered an inappropriate use of company resources, which can work against you in the time you're still in your current position. The best way is to use a cell phone, at a predetermined place that's quiet and offers consistently good reception.

Work Offsite

If you've got a laptop, why not take it to a coffee shop and knock out a letter or two. You'll be surprised at how much you can get done in 45 minutes or so once you get in the habit. Just make sure you go someplace that isn't frequented by co-workers too much. You don't want to give away your secrets to the wrong people. And to make sure your manager doesn't see you banging out a resume, grab a table that lets your computer face away from the door -- that way anyone who happens by can't sneak a peek of what you're working on.

Errands and Preparation

Your lunch hour is a great time to do all the pesky little details that seem to eat up time in a job search -- going to the cleaners, getting more toner for your printer etc. By consolidating such chores into a few lunch hour trips during the week, you free up time in the evening for more important things. And even if such tasks aren't job search related, anything that frees up time can give you more time for career development.

Research and Studying

There are always plenty of things you need to read, study, and memorize for a job search. Print out your online research for companies so you can study it during lunch. Read books on interviewing techniques. Print out and bring along anything you need to memorize, including stories for interviews, discussions of your experience, or questions for cold calls. But remember, the same caveat applies from the previous example -- don't let your boss come in and see you engrossed in a copy of "Worlds Greatest Job Interview Answers." It could make for one of those painfully awkward moments we all desperately hope to avoid.

Published by Kaushal Shah