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6 Tips For Writing a Great Personal Ad
2.14.12

Are you ready to get back into the dating scene? It can be daunting, so we’ve pulled together some great tips to help you write an effective ad—whether you reach out to people via Harvard Magazine and HarvardMagazine.com, other publications, or online dating sites.

  1. Be honest. If you embellish, you’ll be found out in the end. Tell the truth about yourself, your hobbies, your appearance, and what you’re looking for in a relationship. The way to start a successful relationship is by being real and being you. If you hate hiking and camping, don’t describe yourself as “outdoorsy”; if you are introverted, don’t describe yourself as “outgoing.” If  you exaggerate, people who meet you may be disappointed. Be you, be proud of who you are, and be honest about what you are looking for. Honesty is the best policy.

  2. Don’t over-share. When you  place an ad, you are reaching out to people you don’t know. Avoid intimate details: where you live or where you work. We recommend that you create an anonymous e-mail address as your method of contact. Do not provide your phone number or physical address. Get to know the person first, then, after you’ve communicated enough by e-mail, consider meeting in a busy public place to see if things click.

  3. Be personable. Stay away from convoluted vocabulary or robotic lists of information. Dating should be fun, so have fun with your ad. This is not your curriculum vitae. Use a conversational, inviting tone. Humor is also a great icebreaker and can put people at ease or lessen the nervousness that can accompany dating. When you read your ad back, it should sound the way you speak. Mind your grammar and spelling, but use your own words and phrasings, and you should get a better response.

  4. Look at other ads. A great way to get ideas for your own ad is to look at other ads and see what you like and dislike about them. Would you respond to the ads? Do you get a real sense of the people you’re reading about, or do they sound phony? Do they have a conversational tone or do they sound like a machine? Take cues from the ads you like when writing your ad.

  5. Show a recent photo. If you are going to use a photo in your ad, use one taken in the last two or three months if possible. Present yourself as you really are.

  6. Don’t get discouraged. It’s very likely that the first, second, third, or even tenth person you meet will not be “the one,” but have faith. The point of dating is to meet new people, learn about them, and see if you have common interests and values that can provide a basis for a relationship. Try to have fun, be open to meeting people, and be yourself. You can’t go wrong with that.

To reach affluent, educated, and eligible singles, place your personal ad in Harvard Magazine. There are many Harvard alumni, faculty, and staff hoping to meet their matches. To place your ad, please visit: http://classifieds.harvardmagazine.com/order
(Image by CaroFarion, Stock.Xchng).

Posted by Gretchen Bostrom