First impressions are so important. The same is true with an online profile. Update your profile periodically to insure the impression someone receives is the one you want communicated.
First and foremost – be real. Tell the truth. Keep in mind eventually; you meet some of the people who read your profile. Do you really want to explain that sure, you were the quarterback, in high school but you never played a day in college? You don’t need to give the identifying specifics of your work, employer or where you live because that puts you at risk. Do put information that is accurate and honestly reflects you and your personality.
Update the photo. Use a recent photo that you’d show your mom or boss. A photo indicative of who you are so a professional glamor shot is probably not the way to go since really, is that you every day? Your high school yearbook photo, unless you are in high school, would probably not be very appealing. The photo gives that future person you might meet the opportunity to see your winning smile, your twinkling eyes. What is important is your face, not what you were doing in the picture.
Review your screen name – does it accurately reflect you in a manner that is inviting, nonthreatening and not going to embarrass you or the person reading about you? When did you create that screen name? The internet makes it easy to create an identity so maybe drinkUunder works with your football buddies but would that be inviting to your future date? Screen names can be an aspect of your given name, a phrase or a nickname. Choose something that helps build the tidal pull drawing interest towards you.
Remove generic, general information and give specifics about interests, hobbies, and occupation. What is important to you? “Likes sports” is generic – referees rugby, champion butterfly swimmer, avid hiker – this says something beyond sports are interesting to you. Don’t post to the world the specifics of your company because that could be risky. Do give a little more than a broad category. Keep in mind your work and interests are the meat for the profile reader. This is where decisions are made about is there commonality? Is this person interesting? If the screen name and photo are the bait, this part of the profile sets the hook.
Update the facts. If you completed that graduate program, does your profile still list you as a student? So you played on the national champion rugby team for ten years – ten years ago. Does your profile represent you as still playing? If a past fact is an important aspect of your personality and lifestyle, by all means include that fact. Just present the information accurately.
Review the general look. Is the page and profile’s appearance inviting? Is the font hard to read? Are the colors bright and garish or warm and beckoning? Is the text laid out so the reader flows through or gets stuck? Does the page invite the reader to read or skim, or worse, move on? If the site where your profile is presented allows user customization, take advantage. Change the default so you are not like everyone else’s page. The page itself represents you as much as the content so give thought towards what image you want the profile site to present and what that picture will say about you before any of the text is read.
Bottom line: Be real, use a representative photo and name, be specific and factual, and customize the page.