There are two reasons job hunters should keep looking through December.

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Do not put your job search on hold over the holidays.

Yes, the job market is stinky for some people right now, and a quick turnaround isn’t likely.

But there are two reasons job hunters should keep looking through December:

• Employers who expect to add staff in January — and recruiters tell me there are some — have their 2009 budgets in place and are interviewing for those positions.

• Many of your fellow job hunters, either out of general holiday busyness or frustration, will take the next few weeks off.

You can get a leg up on the competition by continuing a well-targeted job search now.

That doesn’t mean firing off résumés or applications to dozens of jobs you find posted on the Internet. It means zeroing in on real, logical possibilities — jobs that fit your skills, interests and experience.

You have to recognize that employers can be very, very selective these days. They are looking for perfect candidates. They don’t want to spend time or money in training or testing the waters to see if your background adapts to the new job.

You will frustrate yourself if you’re trying to make a wholesale career shift these days. Stick with what you know, at least for now.

And stick with whom you know.

Holiday parties are the perfect time to connect — to network. Go everywhere you’re invited and maybe even crash a few professional association get-togethers.

Let it (ahem) slip in conversation that you’re in the job market. Just don’t moan or dwell on it. Be sprightly, to use a holiday-themed word.

Your job in social situations is to be so likable, so energetic yet professional, that people will automatically think, “Gee, (s)he’d be fun to work with.”

If — and it is an if, not a guarantee — they have a job opening in their organizations, they may help get you an interview. Or they may recommend you to someone else.

The holidays are a perfect time to reconnect or build your network. A holiday card or an e-mail greeting may help you get a subsequent phone call or e-mail returned.