Friday, September 22, 2006

How to Create a Winning Profile

By: Yair Czitrom


The bigger the site, the bigger your city, the more important your profile and photo are. Youll need to stand out from the crowd. Women more apt to read a profile than men, so if youre looking for a woman, polish your prose. If youre looking for a guy, make sure you have a great photo. But ideally, both should be the best you can make them. Look at your competition and steal good ideas from their profiles.

Catch the Eye.

Choose an original and intriguing screen name and headline. Use the writers technique of brainstorming to help you along with this. On a sheet of paper, just write down words and phrases you associate with yourself. Who are you? Risk everything, expect nothing, and be willing to write utter crap. When you go through your list, choose your favorite words for your profile. Avoid clich├ęs or overused phrases like laid-back or fun-loving. Weve all heard those so many times they dont mean anything anymore. When all else fails, choose a quote from a favorite writer or musician. Make your opening line interesting and in some way an accurate impression of who you are. Determine whether screen names or tag lines are featured more prominently on the site, and adjust your efforts accordingly.

Favorites and Specifics..

You may think the endless questions of Favorite movie? Favorite music? Favorite place for a date? are incredibly tedious. But these things can help to give an idea of someones personality. Especially if you have a hard time talking about yourself, throw in some favorite names and titles. Someone who loved Terms of Endearment will likely be quite different from a fan of Seven. If you liked both movies, youre probably a multifaceted person, which is a selling point as well! Avoid generalities; use concrete examples from your life. Katz says to use nouns rather than adjectives, preferably proper nouns. Instead of saying I like baseball, you can say I like attending Red Sox games on summer nights. Much more interesting, eh? Personal stories are also engaging.

What things are most important to you in life: health, career, family, fun, learning, religion, personal development, and/or political activism? The things you choose to prioritize say a lot about who you are; listing them will draw the right people to you and lead others away.

Accentuate the Positive.

Your profile is an ad, and youre the product. Your profile should shine a spotlight on your best attributes and let the others fade into darkness. We all have emotional baggage, pot bellies, cash flow problems, and so forth. Your potential partner can find out about these things eventually, after he or she has felt the initial spark of attraction and interest. Why would someone want to date you? What unique qualities do you have to give to a partner? Use your brainstorming list. Try not to sound like youre bragging, or like you think youre perfect, however. End on a positive note.

Be Yourself.

First, tell the truth. Theres a world of difference between accentuating the positive and outright lying. Pretending you have a Ph.D., perfect body, and tons of money may get you more responses initially, and may even get you dates, but once your fibs are exposed, youre history. Second, write like you speak. Be natural. Sure, youre trying to impress, but youre also trying to find someone who likes you for who you really are.

White Lies: Sometimes Okay.

If you live in a small town and dont want to be recognized, or if you live just outside a major city, you can change your zip code in your profile. If your site groups people by age ranges, and youre just beyond the upper limit of a range, you can adjust your age down by one or two years. If you have an extra head, you dont have to show it in your photo. Just fess up once you reach the emailing stage with someone.

Place Your Order

What are you looking for in a partner? If you wont even consider someone who isnt Muslim, make that clear. If you really want to have children, or really want to be child-free, those are also things that bear mentioning. And then, fantasize a bit. A genie has just popped out of a lamp and is taking your order for the perfect partner. Describe him or her. Again, though, keep it positive: No fatties is a pretty harsh way of saying I prefer a partner who is physically fit. Even if the woman reading your ad has the body of a supermodel, you may have just pissed her off by attacking someone she loves. On the other hand, although you should be clear about what youre looking for, be realistic. We all want a partner whos our idea of perfect. But if you set your sights too high, you might overlook someone whos really good for you. What are you looking for in a relationship? Again, its very important here to be honest. Casual, serious, something in between?

Spell-Check and Friend-Check!

You wouldnt use a resume without spell-checking it, and also having a friend look it over. Why would you do any less with your profile? Also enlist a friend of the gender youre scouting for, to see if you seem desirable to them. Do a search for your own profile and compare it to others on the site. If you dont think you compare favorably, tweak it until you do!

Be Dynamic and Make Use of Extras.

If youre getting rejected by almost everyone, see if theres something about your profile that may be putting them off. Even if your profiles successful, try updating and changing it from time to time. You may catch the eye of someone new. If your site allows audio or video files, make one. Few enough people do that the novelty alone will attract prospects to you. Add new photos, and change the one which downloads first, to keep your listing fresh.

About Marital Status.

Some divorced folks may be inclined to put single in their profiles because it sounds more hip and attractive. But if youre a guy, that can be a red flag meaning scared of commitment. If youre divorced, say so. If youre single, try to adjust your profile to sound especially stable, and experienced with long-term relationships.

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