Intro to Creating an AMAZING Online Dating Profile
If you’re reading this and are single, you probably already have a dating profile on at least one online dating site. No need to be embarrassed!
Yes, I know how amazing it would be to simply meet a guy or gal in person, in a relaxed setting, and have everything effortlessly fall into place from there. It happens quite often in movies, sometimes in real life, and it might have even once happened to you, but let’s face reality together for a second. The chances of it happening to you in the immediate future are too uncertain to bet your future on, so you need to try something that will increase your odds of success. That’s where online dating comes in.
Online dating gives you the opportunity to meet potential dating partners you would otherwise never get a chance to meet. You can also see their photos and get to know them a bit via email or chat. How awesome is that! You are no longer confined to dating the men on your block, or the women in your area code.
True, there are all sorts of dishonest, cheating, no good, malicious, troublemakers on these sites with outdated photos, falsified profiles, and inaccurate marital statuses that you need to be aware of and on guard against, but they shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the benefits that online dating has to offer. Just be careful and ask questions.
– Are you married?
– Are you really divorced or just taking a break?
– Do you have kids?
– Are the senior citizens in your photo your grandparents or your buddies?
On Jzoog.com we’ve tried to prevent some of the fakers and scammers from getting on the site by requiring everyone to log in using their Facebook profile and we run some checks to make sure that those profiles are real and active and that the persons relationship status isn’t married, engaged, in a relationship, or something of that sort. It’s not foolproof, but it’s a lot better than letting people just sign up using an email (which is what most other sites do).
So now that you’re online and ready to look for the “right one”, you need to make sure that your profile is up to par. Your online dating profile consists of three parts:
2. Basic Stats (ie. Gender, age, height, eye color, etc)
There’s not much you can do with your basic stats. Lying is out of the question. Ok, no one’s going to arrest you if you’re 5’7” and a half and you write 5’8”, but that’s about as much leeway as you can take without putting yourself in the ranks of the dishonest, malicious, cheaters.
The two areas that you can and must work on are your photos and essays, which are really the only things that potential partners will have to go on when deciding whether to expend valuable time and resources in pursuit of you. They will make assumptions, presumptions, and projections based upon a photo and a few hastily typed lines of text. You will do the same. It sounds pretty shallow and arbitrary, because it is, but it’s reality, so you might as well use it to your advantage and post the most amazing profile imaginable, and reap the rewards.
“Most online dating profiles suck.” – – Arnie Singer
I know, that’s a bold statement and I’ve got no concrete facts or statistics to back it up. Nevertheless, from my years of experience as a dater, matchmaker, and dating coach, I believe it to be accurate.
Most profiles are just plain horrible. Of the ones that aren’t so bad, most aren’t good either. They’re just not that bad. It’s no wonder that there are so many disillusioned and frustrated online daters out there complaining about how they never get contacted or responded to or how they can’t find anyone worth contacting.
It’s not really a secret, it’s just common sense, but most people don’t do it. That means that if you do, you’ll have an advantage over the rest of the online dating hordes.
Photos are the most important part of your online dating identity. Trust me on this one. Most men and women decide whether to make contact and pursue solely based on a photo. It’s your job to make sure your photos catch their interest and draw them into the pursuit.
Just think about it. You do a search on your favorite dating site (hopefully Jzoog) and get dozens, scores, even hundreds of potential matches to browse through. There’s no way you have the time or patience to study each match to learn more about them, so instead you just quickly scan their primary photo. Each photo gets about half a second. The only way you’re stopping to investigate further is if a photo catches your eye. That’s how important your profile photo is.
If you’ve chosen to find love online (and you have), you need to make sure that your photo is good enough to stop those searchers in their tracks and make them learn more about you.
Ok, if you’re a professional model (male or female) or look like one, you don’t have much to worry about. Just snap the photo and be done with it. For the rest of you non-models, don’t get discouraged. You have full control over the photos you post, so you have the advantage. You don’t need to worry about some photographer following you around, snapping candid shots when you least expect it. You can stage your photo shoot exactly the way you like. If you’re not crazy about how you look from the neck down, you can just post a headshot. If you are ready to go full length (or anything in between), go for it. It’s your choice.
Do you need a professional photographer to take your profile photos? I’m probably going to ruffle some feathers and alienate some shutterbugs by saying this, but my answer is NO. Just to qualify, I do think that a good professional photographer who is creative and “hip” can definitely enhance how you appear in your photo (sans Photoshop!), but I think the creative and “hip” part is key here. I find many of those staged photos where you pose in front of a bright blue background leaning on a tree with a huge forced grin to be so artificial and sometimes even a bit spooky. What you want is a photographer who can make you look your best in a natural, perhaps active, way. That takes talent.
I recently attended an event where a professional photographer took head shots of the participants. I sat in front of the background, he told me to smile, turn left, then right, done. I looked horrible in the photo! My smile was too big, my head wasn’t tilted properly, it was just bad. Now I’m no model, but I’ve got lots of photos where I look pretty good and they were all taken by amateurs. I must say that lots of people came out really great in their head shots, but I wonder if they wouldn’t have come out as good without a professional. Maybe not. It happened to have been a really good looking crowd so, who knows?
The bottom line is that if you can find a photographer who you feel can really make you look natural and bring out your best, then by all means go for it. But if you can’t or don’t want to, you don’t need to fret. As long as you have a friend with a decent camera who knows how to snap a photo, you’re in business.
You want your photo to be clear (no cellphone cams) and well lit. You also want people to be able to recognize you, so you shouldn’t be standing half a mile away from the camera. On the other hand you don’t want too close of a close up where you can see your chicken pox scars and blackheads. Just take a normal photo!
The setting of your photo can say a lot about you. A fun setting, like an amusement park, picnic, boat ride, or sporting event says, “I’m fun and active”. The beauty of nature as your background says, “I’m real, down to earth, and love the great outdoors.” You can really be creative with your setting to convey a very specific part of who you are that you want potential partners to see. A photo of you in Israel shows your connection to your heritage and people, while a shot of you working with children in India or hiking in the Himalayas shows your caring and adventurous side. Get the idea?
What you wear also speaks volumes about who you are and what you’re looking for. Dressy, casual, sporty, hip, funky…it’s all good, as long as it’s sending the message you want to convey. If you’re really gutsy you can use the photo of you in your Purim or Halloween costume (assuming it’s attractive – no fruit or diapers).
The first time I saw my wife’s photo, on a friend’s Facebook friends list, she was wearing an Indian sari (her Purim costume), which succeeded in peaking my interest enough to contact her. No she didn’t wear the Sari on our first date, and yes, I was a bit disappointed (I’ve since gotten over it).
While the kind of clothing you wear doesn’t really matter, as long as it reflects who you are, how you look in those clothes matters a heck of a lot. You want to make sure that you get the right type and fit of clothing for your particular look and body type.
Not every man or woman can wear every type of clothing. Some styles, colors, and patterns are not flattering to some physical builds, sizes, and shapes. I won’t go any further, since I’m not an expert in male or female fashion, but I will be bold enough to recommend that you find a friend or a professional who will be brutally honest and tell you what you should and shouldn’t wear. Anyone who always tells you that you look great in everything you try on is probably not being totally honest, so consider finding someone who will tell it like it is.
If you can’t seem to get the clothing thing right, get some expert advice, even if you have to pay for it. It’ll be the best money you’ll ever spend.
Your hairstyle falls into the same category as clothing. Different folks look better or worse in different hairstyles. You need to figure out what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to get a professional opinion. If you’re not comfortable with your hair, or lack of it, you can always put on a hat. Nothing dishonest about a well placed baseball cap!
The only way you should appear in your photos is with a smile on your face. No one wants to be around a sourpuss. Even worse, some people (especially guys) look downright scary with a scowl on their face. The last thing you want to do is scare a potential partner off by looking like you should be on a wanted poster. No one in their right mind wants a relationship with the Upper West Side Stalker!
A smile radiates warmth, sincerity, self confidence, and happiness. It tells potential partners that they can expect an enjoyable, relaxed, and upbeat experience if they choose to date you. A non-smiling face screams NO FUN, STRESS, DRAMA, TENSION. Which face do you want to date? Obviously, there are different types and sizes of smiles, that each send a different message. A wide, toothy beam will radiate differently than a subtle, mysterious grin. You choose the kind that represents you best, but you must display some form of positive facial expression to get noticed.
One Singular Sensation
Your main profile photo should be of you alone, not you and your ex (or current) squeeze, or you and your best friends, who happen to be better looking than you. You want it to be absolutely clear that it is YOU who is ready for a relationship, or at least a date. If the person viewing the photo can’t figure out for sure who you are, then you know you’ve messed up.
Set aside some time today to go through your profile photos and get rid of those that:
– make your identity unclear
– feature good looking people other than yourself
– have members of the opposite sex with their arms around you, holding your hand, kissing you, etc. (unless it’s grandma or grandpa)
There’s one final point that I’d rather not have to state, but it’s too important, so here goes. What if you feel, for whatever reason, that displaying your photo will be detrimental to your chances of attracting potential partners?
First of all, don’t be so hasty in making that determination. Just because you think you look terrible doesn’t mean others do. We’ve all heard of the supermodels and actresses who can’t stand the way they look…yes, they exist. Maybe you’re just being a bit too hard on yourself, and you don’t even realize it? It’s not uncommon. So before you climb under that rock or call Dr. Plastic Makeover, get a second opinion from someone who you trust will be totally (brutally) honest. It’s also fine (probably smart) to seek the advice and opinion of a professional, someone who can be honest with you while helping you bring out and highlight your attractive features.
If after doing your due diligence you still feel uncomfortable about putting your photo up for all to see, then don’t. Understand that most potential partners will ignore your photo-less profile. However, if you are skilled in the written word and can create an incredibly engaging, interesting, and captivating written profile (which I’ll explain how to do in the next section), you have a chance of attracting the attention of some of the more cerebral soulmate searchers out there. Let them rejoice in your exciting and intriguing personality, and deal with the photo when the time is right.
The last piece of business you need to take care of regarding your profile photos has nothing to do with your online dating profile. It has to do with all the other photos you have floating around cyberspace. You see, most online daters won’t stop at viewing your dating profile photos. They’ll type your name into Google Images and look you up on Facebook. Wouldn’t you do the same?
Therefore, make sure you get rid of any photos you feel don’t highlight you at your very best, wherever they might be living. Clean up your Facebook page and delete those really unflattering photos you wish you had been sober for. It doesn’t matter if it’s a shot of you at your best friend’s wedding. If it doesn’t meet your photo standards, take it down and save it for the day after your wedding. Your friend will understand. If someone else is posting photos that include you, make sure they meet your requirements, and if they don’t, ask your friends to take them down.
Finally, if you notice that you’re not getting much activity after several weeks, change up your photos. Try a different pose, setting, or facial expression (smile?!). Wear different clothing. Keep experimenting until you get it right.
Now that you’ve got your profile photos in order, let move on to your profile essays.
Your profile photos are what persuade potential partners to consider contacting you. Your essays are what seal the deal and get them to actually hit send. It’s in these paragraphs that you proclaim who you are, what you love and hate, and who you want to spend time (the rest of your life?) with. This is your opportunity to shine, dazzle, entice, and seduce. Remember, your goal is not just to attract just anyone. You want to attract a potential partner that shares your life goals and dreams. The clearer and more open you are in expressing what those goals and dreams are and, most importantly, who YOU really are, the better chance you’ll have of meeting the “right one”.
Some dating sites let you write separate paragraphs for who you are and what you’re looking for in a partner. Others make you put it all in one place. On Jzoog we give you space for an optional statement where you can write whatever you please. Either way is fine. All that matters is that you get your point across.
How you craft your essay depends on your personality, style, and writing skills. Your written style can be humorous and witty, serious and introspective, playful and romantic, or however else you feel like expressing yourself.
The problem with writing in a creative style with the intention of expressing your true personality is that unless you do it well, you can easily be misunderstood and give off the wrong impression. If you choose to write with humor or sarcasm, make sure it’s clear to the reader that that’s what you’re doing. The worst is when you’re trying to be funny but your reader thinks you’re being serious. Suddenly, good natured sarcasm can be seen as bitterness and anger. If you decide to write in a flirtatious style, make sure you don’t come across as cheesy or sleazy.
If you’re talented with the pen (or keyboard) then go for it and use any voice or style you feel works best for you. If writing isn’t your forte´ I suggest you keep it simple and to the point. That doesn’t mean three word sentences all in lower case. It just means don’t try to be a literary champion if you’re not. Chances are, neither is the person reading your essay.
Your goal is to convince the right partner to contact you. That means you need to convey information in your essay that will appeal to the type of person you’re looking to attract. If you want someone who travels, you need to write about your travels and how you love seeing new places and experiencing new things.
If you love helping people and want someone who you can share that with, you need to write about the volunteer work you do and the helping projects you are involved in. People connect with others who share common interests and goals. You need to put yours out there for like minded partners to find.
Here’s an example of a real profile sent to me by an attractive, 33 yr. old single woman (guys can contact me if they’re interested!). I’ll explain why I think it’s a winner after you’ve read it.
I’ve been making a bucket list before I even knew what a bucket list is. I see glass half full and I thrive on change. I like the newness of things—it’s not just being able to say I did things; it’s the experience of it. That’s why I moved to NYC. That’s why I’m on jdate right now.
In the last few years, my bucket list brought me to Hawaii (on the list: “learn to surf”), to Florida (“learn how to fly a Cessna airplane”), to West Virginia (“rock climb 1,000 ft fin-rock”), and to the Whitney Museum (“visit the Whitney Museum”) ha. 2011’s list has a few good ones. Here’s a little sample:-Learn Spanish. -See a NYC baseball/basketball game. I love cheering and being amongst the fans -Get my palm read. (I’ve never done it, and anyway, this city is full of readers. I’d like to go and see what she predicts, then laugh about it.)
I didn’t just come to NYC for the experience, of course. I have my own company in Social Media Marketing and I love helping companies succeed. I am thankful all is well with work, despite the economy.
I’m the type of girl who can get dressed up in record time, hold my own at a cocktail party, and be spotted wearing jeans and a t-shirt the next day. I’m easy-going and have good values and a warm heart.
I’ve had some great relationships in the past with wonderful men that just didn’t work for the long haul due to timing. C’est la vie…I’m hopeful and optimistic.
I have a fun talent: I can predict the end of movies. I was even pretty close on The Sixth Sense and Usual Suspects. Fight Club got me, though. It’s a bummer of a skill, really. I think it’s so much more fun to be surprised. What I’m saying here is: surprise me.
Let’s analyze this essay.
Paragraph 1: Her opening is exciting, fast moving. She tells you that she’s positive, energetic, and open to new experiences. But she doesn’t just come out and say these things. She does it subtly through images like “bucket list” and “glass half full”. She’s not afraid to tell you she’s on jdate. She’s open and ready for a relationship.
Paragraph 2: She tells us about her travels and adventures, reinforcing her “not afraid of new experiences” opening. But there’s another side to her too. She can enjoy being part of the crowd cheering on her team or getting her palm read. Before you label her a superstitious flake, she makes sure to clarify that she’ll, “laugh about it”. So she’s fun and normal.
Paragraph 3 & 4: She informs us that she’s a successful business woman, so men with low self esteem who can’t handle that need not apply. Then she tells us that despite her success she’s a good ole, down to earth, low maintenance, easy going, warmhearted gal. Yes, she’s had relationships before that just haven’t worked out, but not because she trashed them. Timing is everything. She’s not bitter or jaded. She’s ready to try again!
The last paragraph is brilliant, in my opinion. She leaves us with a tease…a challenge. Surprise me. I dare you. Who’s not going to want to take that challenge?
This woman conveyed who she is and what she’s looking for in a smooth, exciting, and engaging manner. She didn’t harp on any one point for too long and gave just enough information to be interesting but not too much to be boring. Great profile.
You don’t need to reveal your deepest darkest secrets in your profile. You might not want to share those until later in the relationship. Ever hear the term – TMI – Too Much Information? Avoid TMI in your essays. You’re not proposing marriage, your just looking to go out on a date. You don’t need to provide a list of medications, allergies, neuroses, or pet peeves in your essay. You don’t need to discuss your dysfunctional family history or your toxic relationship with your boss. Save it. For now, just focus on getting the date!
Try to be open minded. I recently read a profile where a woman stated that she would never move from her current city. You mean to tell me that she would give up the love of her life and years of happiness to live in a specific city? I have to believe that when faced with that choice, she would choose love and happiness over location. So why place that obstacle in the way of true love right off the bat? Why not deal with it if it actually becomes an issue?
People love mystery. They are intrigued by the unknown. They crave gossip and secrets, the dirtier the better. Curiosity is one of the most powerful of human characteristics. It caused Adam and Eve to taste of the forbidden tree. If harnessed correctly, it could also whet the appetite of your potential mate. Don’t give it all up in your essay. Leave your reader wanting to find out more about you. For example, you can write something like, “I’ve traveled to some pretty exotic places, but describing them in person is so much more exciting…so I’ll wait ;)” How many of you are intrigued?
Even if you follow my guidelines there’s one important point to remember: not everyone is a good writer. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone has different talents. If yours happens to be writing, you have a tremendous advantage in the profile writing category. Use it. If you’re not a writer, don’t give up hope. You can still write a coherent and interesting profile if you really put your mind, and some effort, into to it. Just keep it simple and to the point. If you try to be too fancy, funny, sophisticated, satirical, sardonic, sagacious, or sarcastic (or if you keep trying to use big words that basically reflect the same idea just to look cool) you will probably just succeed in motivating your reader to click and move on to the next profile.
Now it’s time to get to work creating or modifying your online dating profile. I can’t guarantee that if you follow my suggestions and the steps I’ve outlined you’ll suddenly get a flood of contacts in your email box. But I do believe that you’ll significantly increase your chances of getting dates and finding the “right one”.
I think it’s important to point out that there’s nothing dishonest or unethical about getting a professional to help write your profile just like there’s nothing wrong with having your photos taken by a professional photographer. Very few people will ask you out solely based on your writing style. It’s more about the messages and information you convey and, of course, your photos.
To help you create a profile that you’ll be proud of and that will increase your odds of getting dates, I’ve created a service called Profile Doctor. It’s pretty straightforward. I’ll evaluate your photos, help you polish your essays, or even write them for you based on the information you provide me with. You can find out more about Profile Doctor by emailing me here.
Good luck on your online dating journey.
I hope it proves successful, and brief!