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Monster tries to scare up more job seekers

The online career site is launching a Web-based networking section where its members can communicate with other job seekers.

Online career site Monster is launching a Web-based networking section where members can communicate with other job seekers.

The networking service, announced Monday, is scheduled to launch during the first quarter.

The site's networking section will consist of a community area where Monster members can exchange job postings and career information. The service will also feature a proprietary search technology that matches people with common professional interests. Monster said the system will use data from member profiles to connect people based on details such as occupation, employment history and geographic location.

Monster, which noted that it now tallies about 40 million member accounts worldwide, has been searching for new ways to boost traffic and offset the loss of some of its largest partners to rival companies. In August, Monster lost exclusive deals to provide job listings for two of the most heavily visited destinations on the Web: Time Warner's America Online Internet service and Microsoft's MSN Web portal.

Both AOL and MSN subsequently inked deals with Monster rival CareerBuilder.com.

Internet search giant Yahoo also joined the Web-based job classifieds market last year through its $436 million acquisition of HotJobs.com.

Monster said it decided to launch the new section after a poll of its members showed that more than 90 percent of respondents felt networking was crucial to finding a new position. Monster reported that 46 percent of the more than 22,000 voters it polled in a one-day survey found their most recent employment through networking.

"In addition to leveraging the Internet as a powerful recruiting tool," company Chairman Jeff Taylor said in a statement, "consumers continue to rely on their network of friends, colleagues and peers when seeking professional guidance or advice about how to best achieve career goals."