Baby steps are fine if you're a Monster (NASDAQ:MNST). After all, it's been a scary trip. Having thrived in the early stages of the dot-com meltdown only to succumb along with the job market, the favorite online destination for job-hoppers is starting to grow again. (Did you know that the Fool is looking for writers and editors? Check out the opportunities.)

Last night, Monster posted a 10% uptick in fourth-quarter revenues as earnings rose to $0.11 a share. While the company didn't spell out specific benchmarks for 2004, it expects growth in both revenues and net profits for the year. Looking to capitalize on a healthier job market, Monster will also ramp its marketing budget -- which has always been pretty ambitious, anyway. The company logged more than 40 million visits for the month of December alone.

Monster's Super Bowl ads may have been costly, but they worked out nicely, as more than 62,000 new resumes were submitted the following day. No word if Janet Jackson was one of those looking for a new line of work (but we doubt it).

Monster's come a long way. As TMP Worldwide, it was an early beneficiary when the dot-com bubble burst. Between the laid off netizens looking for work and companies looking to hire the Web smart and hungry, Monster was busy on both ends. Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) wanted in so badly that it acquired rival

But as the economic lull widened, it was no longer a job hunter's market, and Monster suffered through a dry spell. Today, the company is more focused, having spun off its executive search and eResourcing business last year as Hudson Highland Group (NASDAQ:HHGP). It's also doing its best to guard against a repeat slide by ramping its offerings in recession-resistant fields like health care.

Until we see evidence of more significant bottom-line octane, it may be hard to brand Monster cheap. However, the shares are trading for less than a third of what they fetched four years ago, and the company's prospects continue to improve. Patient investors may be tempted to nibble here and tuck the stock under the mattress as the jobs recovery unfolds. After all, who doesn't believe in the Monster under the bed.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz don't wanna work. He just wanna bang on his drum all day. He does not own shares in any companies mentioned in this story.