The essay question – it was everyone’s least favorite in school. And even though we all love to talk about ourselves, the pressureof selling yourself to potential single dating partners in an online profile can be intimidating. You want to sound natural, like yourself, but you also must remember that you are marketing a great product amid a sea of other advertisements.
The first step in marketing that great product is to come up with a catchy name for it. This is your handle. Keep it tasteful (no “69lover” or “eye-m-eezee”), pronounceable, and memorable. Don’t agonize too much about your handle. As long as it doesn’t turn people off, you’ll be fine.
The second step on many sites is to come up with a tagline. In an advertisement, this would be your slogan. Sum yourself up in a short statement or phrase. Cutesy, suggestive lines like “Can you handle my love?” are very overused. Just keep it simple, inviting people to read on. Think about those teasers you see on television for the evening news. “You could be eligible for $1,000 in free money. Find out how tonight at 11!” Tell the audience a bit, but make them eager to stay tuned.
Once you have your handle and your tagline, most sites want you to add a self-description in essay format, telling potential mates about yourself and what you’re looking for. If this scares you, have a friend help. Talk to your friend verbally, while he or she types or writes the highlights of what you say. You can also have your friend ask you leading questions such as:
- “What do you like to do in your spare time?”
- “What do you like most about yourself?”
- “What kind of people drive you nuts?”
Whatever you decide to include in your self-description, keep these four rules in mind, which you can remember by thinking about what you P.O.S.T.:
The most important rule of all is to stay positive and upbeat. Tell people the good things about you, what you like about yourself and what you enjoy doing. Have a confident tone. Don’t talk about how cynical you are about “this whole online dating thing.” Don’t share your past relationship baggage, or how much you hate your job.
What makes you different from everyone else? Use it to your advantage. Get the readers’ attention and make them curious to know more. This is a good opportunity to tell a unique and fun story from your childhood, or something funny you did with your friends. Show your personality.
Avoid generic or common words. Focus more on actual stories and real-life examples. Dating sites are full of run-of-the-mill statements like, “I am a nice, fun person who enjoys movies and conversation.” This could describe almost anyone! You’ll get more bang for your buck by talking about your favorite movie, and subjects you like conversing about. Avoid starting every sentence with the word “I.”
Keep your tone natural and keep your statements factual. Even if you’re only looking for casual encounters rather than a lifetime love, if you exaggerate or lie in your profile, it will come back to bite you. Remember that millions of people use online dating sites, not just strangers, but possibly acquaintances, coworkers, or family members. So present your best side, but make sure it’s the truth.
End your description with a call to action. It may sound trite or obvious, but studies have shown that telling the reader to contact you is a proven successful technique to increase desirable responses. Include a brief qualifier followed by a request, like, “If you’re between 25 and 55 and enjoy the outdoors as much as I do, email me and we’ll see if we’re a match.”