By Randy B. Hecht
When you're surrounded by millions of other profiles, how can you make sure the people you want to meet actually notice you? An intriguing profile is your key to romantic success. Make it personal. Make it special. Make it stand out.
Browsing through your matches is like being in a room full of potential mates; with so many to choose from, you have to depend on first impressions. Your headline is one of the first impressions you make, so it had better be good!
- Make it unique
"Looking For Love" or "Seeking My Match" is too generic and won't set you apart from the crowd. Remember that your headline is one of the first things other members will see; set aside a few minutes to make it special or try our suggestions listed here.
- Be clever but clear
Don't assume strangers will understand your sense of humor. "Clever Headline TBD" doesn't give anyone a reason to read your profile. "Fat, Ugly And Stupid Seeks Thin, Gorgeous And Brilliant" doesn't work either (would that make you want to click or move on?).
- Be realistic
"Prince Seeks Princess" and "Looking To Live The Fairy Tale Life" suggests that you need to get your feet back on the ground. Try not to set yourself up as an object of pity by using the words "lonely" or "desperate," as in "Lonely Lady Seeks LTR" or "Desperately Seeking Soulmate." Are you looking for someone who is lonely or desperate? Neither is anyone else. And surely there are more enticing ways to describe yourself!
Once your headline makes someone want to learn more about you, the trick is to keep his or her attention. Don't feel like you have to sell yourself; just be open and honest. Ask a friend to help you write your profile, and have another friend read it afterwards. Keep the following advice in mind to help you create a winning profile.
- Get to the point
Avoid beginning by complaining about how hard it is to write a profile or find a quality mate; everyone here has to do just that. Dive right into describing yourself and what makes you tick.
- Focus on your strengths
Write about your hobbies, involvement in your community, interesting work or travels—whatever it is that makes you special. Think about your ideal match, and write as though you're talking specifically to that person.
- Be realistic
The words you choose can alienate potential matches, so go easy on phrases like "drop-dead gorgeous" and "looking for the perfect mate." Set your expectations high, but keep them real, too. Having trouble describing your ideal match? Try these suggestions:
- Be open and conversational
How many times have you read a profile that tries to impress by using vocabulary-busting words—words that inevitably are misspelled? It ruins the effect. Or maybe you've come across profiles that say too little, leaving you wondering why anyone would want to contact this person. Write enough to get your message across, but use words that would come out of your mouth normally. In short, just be yourself on a particularly good day.
- Describe what's important to you
Don't be afraid to mention qualities that are important to you in a relationship; loyalty, the ability to communicate and listen, intelligence and humor are good examples. Put those qualities front and center, and avoid emphasizing characteristics that are less important to you. Give some thought to why your best relationships worked well and why the worst worked so badly; maybe you'll discover a pattern there.
- Check your spelling and grammar
Your profile tells your potential matches what to expect from you in an offline conversation; it's all anyone really has to determine your personality and your ability to communicate. Although it might be completely unfair to assume, misspelled words can make people judge you as being uneducated or illiterate. Take a few extra minutes to check your spelling. Try writing your profile in a word processing application first; run spell check, make corrections and copy the text into your profile.
Did you know that profiles with photos get up to 15 times more attention? And as with all other aspects of your profile, the photo you choose says something about you; make sure you're delivering the message you intended.
Randy B. Hecht is a New York-based writer and editor who often covers relationship issues.
- Keep it real
Don't be deceptive with your photo choice. That means everything from not choosing a clean-shaven photo if you've just grown a goatee to not posting a photo from two years ago, right after you lost all the weight that you've since regained. And please, whatever you do, don't use someone else's photo instead of your own. Remember that you're going to have to live up to the image you present, so make sure it resembles the real you.
- It's all about you
Choose a photo that features you by yourself. A group doesn't make you the center of attention; in fact, it may even make it difficult for your match to determine who you are. Would you want to make it all the way to a first date only to find that your match actually was interested in your friend, the one who was third from the left?
- Go in for your close up
Photos taken from a distance end up stealing the focus away from you. Even though you're proud of your new car or boat or your recently acquired ability to hang glide, keep in mind that your matches want to see your face; they want to be able to associate what you look like with how you describe yourself in your profile.
- Focus on quality
The attention your photo gets should be positive. Choose a good, clear, current close-up of your face as your primary photo; additional photos can include full body shots or pictures of you with your pet. Make sure the photo is well-cropped and doesn't cut off the top of your head (leaving your matches to wonder if there's hair there). And remember to smile!
- A picture really is worth a thousand words
Upload your photos today!