More than half of U.S executives used online networking services to boost their professional contacts, change jobs or generate new business leads during 2005, a new survey has found.
The poll by careers' website 6FigureJobs reported that 57 per cent of its members had used web-based networking services in this way.
Networking has become an increasingly important part of the average worker's professional development, but for executives and senior-level professionals it has become vital, said 6FigureJobs.
Using such services for personal networking had become an increasingly popular way for professionals to find their next career opportunity or business lead, it added.
The website also noticed a trend among its 400,000 senior-level members to get involved with online networking mainly because it was a new channel for them to market themselves and because it was convenient.
"We expect this trend to grow dramatically and evolve further as more and more senior-level professionals familiarise themselves with blogging and online networking services," said Steve Purello, general manager of Workstream Career Networks, the company behind 6FigureJobs.
"Networking and niche blog sites will serve as vehicles for professionals to provide thought leadership and expertise in their respective fields," he added.
"These communication vehicles will provide professionals with new ways to market themselves and the exposure generated could, in turn, positively impact their career paths and expand their business network," he concluded.
Some 32 per cent of the website's members who were interested in networking opportunities were looking to connect with marketing professionals, he added.