7 Rules For Setting Up An Online Dating Profile

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Recently, my friend asked me to help her build an online dating profile.

An online profile is essentially a digital "resumé," and like a resumé you have to spend some time figuring the best way to highlight your attributes and set the tone of your personality.

This particular friend is one of the few people I know that I can't say anything bad about. In order to convey her brilliance through her profile we decided to adhere to a few rules while constructing our masterpiece. Here they are:

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Choose the Right Community

Online dating is helpful because you're able to choose the type of environment you want to explore. Some sites allow you to find Jewish singles, some allow you to meet through community service, and some even allow you to find someone to cheat with if you're married.

Be Honest and Accurate

I'm a proponent of honesty, even in an online environment where it's so easy to lie. People need to get what they saw on your profile when they meet you in person. Allow interested parties to get an accurate read on what you look like by including a full catalog of pictures. If you misrepresent yourself (like using a photo from ten years ago), you'll never get a second date.

Also, include any possible red flags such as a divorce or children. Potential mates will find out at some point anyway. It will ensure that the type of people who contact you are not scared off by whatever your instincts tell you to hide.

Post "Happy" Pictures

You know those weight loss "before and after" pictures? The person is always frowning in the "before" picture. In the "after" picture, there's a huge smile, which is supposed to help sell a product. Lots of smiles brighten your profile. Choose pictures that make you look fun and outgoing.

Avoid Clichés

There are many things you can say in a dating profile that mimics the proverbial "enjoys long walks on the beach." You must stand out, so don't say what everyone else is saying.

Accentuate Your Uniqueness

This allows you to find people who are compatible with you, while avoiding clichés. Focus on the interesting and uncommon things about you (but avoid something like stamp collecting — my secret dorky hobby when I was younger).

Post your love for an indie band or a weird artist. Those are the types of things that will hook Mr. or Mrs. Right.

Make Him Laugh

Don't take dating too seriously. A witty profile will be tough for any guy to resist — but don't force the jokes.

Be Brief

Most online daters I know contend that they ignore wordy profiles or contact emails. Leave a little to the imagination, but give just enough of a teaser — like a good coming attraction for a movie.

For those of you who have set up effective profiles, what advice would you give to my friend? What do you think of my pointers? Do you think these rules work in the "offline" dating world?

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