Make Your Online Dating Profile Work for You

Updated on October 28, 2016
Irina Smolinskaya profile image

Writing about life, love, relationships and dating. A research junkie, a book lover and a smart*ss, according to my partner.

According to the 2015 report from GlobalWebIndex, there are nearly 91 million people around the world using dating sites and apps, with 7 million in the UK alone; so how do you make your profile stand out among the rest? Here’s a few pointers that’ll help you put together a profile that’ll show off your best qualities without making you sound like a total douche:

1. What You Are Looking for

What you want from your online dating experience is something you need to figure out before you start creating your dating profile. Are you looking to settle down? Are you after some casual dating fun? Decide this before you answer any profile questions and stick to it, that’ll help you avoid inconsistencies with your responses. Don’t be afraid of saying exactly what you want – if it scares them away, it just means they weren’t right for you anyway.

2. Choose the Right Profile Picture

Sadly, it is common practice for people to post misleading pictures on their profiles; we kind of understand the thinking behind it – you want to seem younger/healthier/slimmer to other users but, in the long run, it rarely proves beneficial, and you know why? Because nobody likes feeling duped.

A survey conducted by a retouching app Meitu has shown that 47% of men and 27% of women have encountered a first date who looked nothing like their dating profile image – needless to say, the majority of them never had a second date.

There are, however, the types of images that prove helpful when it comes to getting messages and profile views. Very often, pictures tell more about you than just your looks – if you are smiling in the picture it immediately shows you as a positive person; action pictures, like the ones showing off your hobbies, also get positive feedback and act as conversation starters, showing you as a person of many talents and interests.

Our biggest No-Nos for this category are non-smiling photos, countless selfies (guys, please, don’t over do it with topless shots in the bathroom mirror) and pictures taken at night clubs and bars.

3. Avoid Clichés and Be Specific

One of the biggest mistakes people make while creating their dating profile is that they describe themselves using very general terms – yawn! Yes, that’s true, you might really enjoy “picnics on sunny days”, “travelling the world” and “cuddling up on the couch with a great movie”, but so do the other gazillion users on the site. Instead, be specific – say where you have travelled lately, what was the best movie you have seen this year and tell them about your favourite picnic spot. These details will bring your profile to life and make your visitors want to find out more about you and things that make your life so exciting.

Also, don’t just talk about your hobbies and interests, show them off! If you play guitar, love fishing or do amateur theatre, add pictures of you doing all that to your profile – be a doer, not just a talker!

4. Check Your Grammar

A lot of people are put off by bad grammar, in fact, according to a recent survey by website Grammarly,

Both men (75%) and women (88%) in online dating rate grammar higher than confidence

So make sure you know the difference between “your” and “you’re” and turn that spell check on. It also wouldn’t hurt to reread what you wrote to check for typos, spelling mistakes and bad wording before hitting the Send button.

5. Be Honest

Lying about who you are on your dating profile is a really stupid idea because once you eventually meet your online date in person, the truth will come out – so what was the point of all that lying anyway? And we are talking about everything here, from your real height to your hobbies and peeves. Besides, if you are not showing your true self on your profile, how will the right person ever be able to find you? “Honesty is the best policy” applies to dating too!

6. Share Your Passion

Adding hobbies, likes and interests to their dating profiles, people sometimes are afraid to seem different or strange to their potential dates and go for the most common options in hope of attracting more visitors to their profiles – they are not being true to themselves! It’s much more attractive when a person knows exactly who they are and what makes them tick, so if you’re really into computer games, pub quizzes or bird watching, don’t be afraid to put it out there and someone who shares your passions will have an easier job finding you.

7. Be Positive

Stay away from negativity and display a positive attitude. Mentions of horrible past relationships, self-pity and a load of emotional baggage will scare away anyone looking at your profile. You should be proud of yourself for taking a step towards meeting someone special and starting dating online, it means you know what you want and you never loose hope, so stay positive, be friendly and give the benefit of the doubt when you can.

8. Don’t Get Carried Away

Don’t forget why you created a dating profile in the first place – to find someone special, someone you want to have around and share memories with. It’s easy to get carried away browsing hundreds or even thousands of profiles – it can eventually lead to you feeling uncertain and unsure about making a decision for the fear of missing out on someone better out there. Don’t forget about the real people behind the numbers, don’t scan through them without giving it too much thought.

To avoid this, use specific search criteria, think about what’s important to you and narrow down the options. It’ll help you find people that you are better matched with and prevent future disappointment with your dating experiences.

9. Quality Over Quantity

Unfortunately, a lot of people (men in particular) resolved to sending the same generic message to lots of users in hope that some would respond. This just shows a total lack of respect not only towards those they contact but also towards themselves. Value your own time and effort and actually study and look through the profiles that interest you and send them personal and engaging messages. Mention things you have in common, why you find them attractive and what you like about them (you’ll know all that if you look at their profile properly).

Yes, being more selective and thorough means you get fewer dates as a result, but the dates you DO get have more potential of being a success.

10. Say Who You Aren’t Looking for

Letting everyone know what you do NOT want in a date can be as effective as listing your preferences. If you are only looking to date within a certain height range or really only love guys/girls with curly hair, don’t be afraid to let it be known and save time and effort for yourself and those viewing your dating profile. Remember we talked about being positive? Be nice about your deal-breakers, keep it light and polite.


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    • dashingscorpio profile image


      3 years ago from Chicago

      "....use specific search criteria, think about what’s important to you and narrow down the options. It’ll help you find people that you are better matched with and prevent future disappointment with your dating experiences." - Excellent advice!

      Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.

      Ultimately whether it's online or offline YOU are responsible for having your own screening process! You are responsible for saying "yes" or "no".

      If you are having one bad dating/relationship experience after another it's probably time you reexamined your "mate selection criteria" because the only thing all of your bad relationships have in common is (you)!

      "10. Say who you aren’t looking for" is however a waste of time & space.

      Imagine you are a beautiful girl and you explicitly state the following:

      I have no interest in being contacted by liars, cheaters, players, or married men. Can you imagine a would be "player" reading that and saying to himself: "Aw snap! She ain't got no love for the liars & players! I guess I had better move on to the next profile." {Not going to happen!}

      Instead of talking in the negative about what you don't want simply stay positive: "I am a single honest person looking for a potential mate for the purpose of having an exclusive relationship and only want to meet someone like me with the same goal in mind." That's says it all!

      Note: If it's not on your "want list" it means you don't want it!

      Running down a list of things {you don't want} can come across as someone who has been put through the ringer, has emotional scars and a ton of baggage, possibly a chip on their shoulder, or has toxic/negative outlook about dating and life in general.

      Lastly I would say spend some time doing some research on various online sites and read reviews before choosing one. The mistake a lot of people make is assuming "they're all the same".

      That's the equivalent of saying spending the night at a Motel 6 is the same as staying at The Ritz Carlton because they both offer bed and cable TV. The reality is there are online sites that cater to various demographics; age groups, races, religion, hobbies/interests, political affiliation, parents without partners, interracial, and sexual orientation.

      I would also suggest one (imagine them self being their "ideal mate") with all the traits you desire for him or her and then ask yourself if you were them is this online dating site you would join.

      Hint: Most "quality people" don't waste time on (free dating sites) like OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, or Craigslist....etc

      That's the equivalent of shopping for a diamond by dumpster diving.


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