Sometimes the hardest thing to write about is the subject that you know better than anyone: yourself. Whether you're creating a personal profile to attract a sweetheart through the classified ads or preparing a verbal snapshot of your background and best attributes for a business brochure, it's important you approach the task with confidence and sincerity.
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Determine what kind of results you want to achieve. If your quest is for companionship, the objective could be anything from a jogging buddy to a future spouse. If the profile is for a business publication, the goal might be to establish credibility, attract prospective employers or facilitate networking.
Ask your closest friends or associates to each come up with a list of 10 adjectives or personality traits that best reflect who you are as a person. Review these lists and distil the results down to the six or eight you like best.
Identify at least three activities you're passionate about. In the case of a romance profile, these will likely be activities you'd want to share with a partner. Examples: backpacking, dancing, travel, skiing or fine dining. A business profile would highlight skills such as project management, marketing, fundraising and conflict resolution.
Focus on specifics in order to tailor your profile as closely as possible to what you want to achieve. If you say you like racing, for example, there's a big difference between marathons, horse races and drag racing. Likewise, a reader who sees you like "theatre" won't know which side of the footlights you're referencing or whether you prefer Shakespearean classics or avant-garde skits.
Project a well-rounded view of who you are. Even business profiles often include a line or two about the individual's family, his involvement in charitable causes and interesting or unusual hobbies and leisure pursuits. A romance profile might include references to education, pets, ambitions, spiritual leanings and favourite movies, books or songs.
Embrace a positive attitude as you compose your profile. It might take several drafts--and you should definitely get feedback from friends--but the objective is to create a catchy introduction, provide enough background to show what you're all about and wrap with a declaration of what it is that you'd like to have happen next.
Tips and warnings
- Humour is a wonderful hook in a personal profile. Example: "George Clooney and I were separated at birth. No, we're not twin brothers. We just happened to be born at the same hospital, and his bassinet was parked next to mine for about three hours."
- Personal profiles for dating sites and classifieds are always written in the first person; business profiles generally refer to the individual in the third person.
- Personal profiles typically include age, gender, ethnicity and a brief physical description; business profiles omit these because they're irrelevant to the context.
- Never exaggerate your credentials, physical appearance or talents in a personal profile. If you try to pretend you're something that you're not, it's only a matter of time before the truth will come out.
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