Placing personal ads
The easiest way to jump into personal ads is to post your own ad. Many personals sites require you to post your own free personal to get your free membership. All the personals sites listed on this site allow you to at least place your own personal for free.
You should upload a photo with your ad, if at all possible. Ads with photos draw 5 to 10 times more responses than ads without photos. If you can't find a decent picture of yourself, get one. Disposable cameras are very inexpensive, and you can get the film developed at an inexpensive location, such as a supermarket photo shop. Once you have some decent pictures, if you don't know someone with a scanner, you can use a local office/copy services company such as Kinkos. They can scan your photos and give them to you on disk for a small fee. Or, maybe a friend has a digital camera you can borrow.
When filling out your free personal, select all the boxes and options that apply to you. Remember, the more information you give about yourself, the more likely someone will realize they have something in common with you. Most personal ad sites have a good number of information sections for you to fill out. However, some ask quite a few questions and ask for a lot of "in your own words..." type info. Don't be overwhelmed with these, just fill in the required info to start with. You can always fill in additional information later.
Use a valid email address when signing up. Most free personals sites give you the option to receive email notification of replies to your personal ad, and some even forward the reply right to your email box. You may want to use a free email account, such as Yahoo! Mail or Hotmail, to prevent any spam. Just don't forget to check your new mailbox!