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Make it personal, keep it real

Experts from EHarmony, Match.com and other online dating sites share advice on how to write a profile and which pictures of yourself to post to get the best response.

February 14, 2010|Whitney Friedlander, Los Angeles Times
  • WED: Jeff and Melissa Testerman met online and later were married.
WED: Jeff and Melissa Testerman met online and later were married. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

New to dating online? Or do you need some pointers on how to brush up your skill set? We asked the experts for some tips.

"Keep profiles brief and specific. Leave the novel at home. Long, drawn-out profiles and sob stories don't belong on an online dating site. Use a catchy screen name. For instance, I use PianoBaby and PaperbackWriter. It makes it easy for a man to approach me because they have something to say. Don't put pictures of you and your pets or children. Don't post party photos — a picture of a man and his buddy might confuse the person looking at the profile [who would wonder] who the right person is in the photo."

— Julie Spira, author of Cyber-DatingExpert.com and the book "The Perils of Cyber-Dating"

"It's great when people put five or 10 pictures of themselves that depict things they love to do, pictures that communicate your personality. Writing a tome on your personality profile isn't necessarily great. It's about making it personal [with] adjectives, interests, descriptions and honesty."

— Bob Holden, EHarmony's vice president of North American singles

"You should always have one close-up to the face. I would recommend that people post three to five photographs on their profiles, but they could also run 50 or so through HotorNot.com [and let people vote] for which ones score the best."

— Mark Brooks, editor at OnlinePersonalsWatch.com

"A lot of people fly through things really quickly. If you put a lot of general information in your profile, it's hard to get a sense of who you are. Get a friend to help you write it because a lot of people are uncomfortable talking about themselves. Fundamentally, you should really be honest about who you are and what you're looking for. That's true anywhere you meet people."

— Greg Liberman, president and chief operating officer, Spark Networks, which owns JDate.com, BlackSingles.com, Spark.com, Kizmeet.com and other sites.

"You want your picture to be real. You want to be you. If you start on a date with a picture from 10 years ago and you've gained 10 pounds or if you have a lot less hair now, you're starting on false assumptions. Then you get there and you've just proved to the person that they've just wasted their time. Your profile should be three paragraphs with, like, five sentences in each paragraph. It's enough to know that you've spent time on it, and one of the paragraphs should be about you, one what you're looking for and the third is what you're into right now. It should be a conversation piece that someone could pick out if they're going to write an e-mail to you. You've also got to spell check it like a resume." Also, don't Facebook friend someone until you're sure you both want a relationship because "you go out with a guy maybe twice and you friend him and the fourth date is a disaster and then you're friends with him. The safest thing to do is a limited-access type of profile. Otherwise, you forget that you're updating your friends but you're also updating potential dates."

— Whitney Casey, Match.com's relationship expert and author of the book "The Man Plan."

"The more someone knows about you, the less they want to date you. If you write a massive essay, they're going to find something to dislike about that person. If you don't know something, everyone assumes you're the same as them. Let everything else come out during the dates."

— Markus Frind, founder/CEO of PlentyofFish.com.

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