It’s Groundhog Day.  Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow: Another six weeks of winter to go. If you’re not that into snow, you may feel like you just had an unsolicited, non-celebratory Gatorade bath.  Ick.

Do you feel like you’re dealing with an endless psychological winter in the job market? Do you apply and apply and apply for jobs without hearing back? (The equivalent—perhaps--of shoveling until your back hurts and then waking up to more snow.)  Or do you e-mail until your in-box is clean and wake up to more messages than you can possibly handle?  Are you tired of listening to predictions of continued storms that affect your line of work? 

In the words of Bill the Cat, “Aacck.” And “Thbbft.”  Perhaps it’s time to ignore the noise.  After all, Punxsutawney Phil only predicts an early spring less than 15% of the time! You have the opportunity to to step out from your shadow—regardless of whether anyone else gives you permission to or not.

Despite what you may read elsewhere, I don’t think the best solution to job search frustration is always to step up the effort. A better option:  turn the computer off and connect with people offline… After all, surveys of successful job seekers frequently find that between 60% and 80% of job offers are the direct result of networking—not of online resume databases.

Naturally, there are ways you can—and should—position yourself online in order to receive an optimal number of hits and interest from others. Social networking, RSS feeds of job leads, and a strong resume with all the right “buzz words” cImagesCAMQWJSI an dramatically speed up the process.

But the real people who can help you lose your shadow and make a bigger impact in your job search are your friends, colleagues and mentors. Here are three quick ways to do it.

  1. Pick up the phone and check in with an old friend or colleague.
  2. Schedule time for you. If you're out of a job now, chances are good you'll be working again later. What are the things you will miss when you are back on the clock? Can you do them now?
  3. Send a "thinking of you" item of interest when reconnecting--this could be as small to a link to an article of interest. (Secret: SocialMinder.com lets Gmail users set up "Google Alerts" on phrases of interest to individuals--a clever check-in mechanism.)

Pursue your interests and surround yourself with others who will foster your growth—and your shadow will have no room to survive. As Albert Camus once said, “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Isn’t that the way you want it?

Cross-posted on Career Hub.