An important part of searching online for a date is writing a compelling profile that introduces yourself to potential dating candidates. Your profile tells other members who you are and what you’re looking for in a date. Learn to write an online dating profile that targets the people you would like to date and increases your odds of a positive online dating experience.
Do Your Research
Read other profiles on the website, and analyze them to understand the format and see what works and what doesn’t. An online personals ad usually follows a standard format. It includes your screen name and photo (and, in some cases, video presentation) and a profile consisting of a multiple-choice section and a written essay section. The multiple-choice section generally covers basic information about yourself and your preferences that people looking for dates want to know: demographics like location, religion, marital status, number of children, hair color and smoking status. The written section includes three parts: the heading, a section describing you and a section describing what you’re looking for in a date.
Take your time filling in the multiple-choice section. Even though these questions give you set options from which to choose, think hard about your answers. Members will search the profiles according to this criteria, so you could unintentionally rule out good candidates with a single mouse click.
Take a few hours to write your profile. A hastily written dating profile looks slapdash and is unlikely to attract the kind of person you’re seeking.
Write the headline to your profile. Although brief, the headline can be hard to write, since this is the part other members will see first; the headline can make or break your profile, and if readers aren’t impressed, they won’t click on your ad.
Summarize who you are and who you’re looking for in a phrase. Select the traits most likely to attract the person you’re seeking and the traits you most desire. Then integrate them into the headline as concisely as possible. For example, “Pretty, family-oriented professional seeks sophisticated, like-minded man for a long-term relationship.”
Write the paragraphs describing yourself. Follow the specific format of the online dating website you’re using. Some websites use leading questions, such as “What is your ideal first date?” and “What do you want in a mate?” Others simply say, “Describe yourself.” Make the profile short and sweet, no more than about 400 words. The longer your profile, the greater the chance that someone will read something off-putting.
Emphasize your positives. Many people fall back into apologizing for their failings. Approach writing your profile as you would writing a resume: you wouldn’t confess your deepest flaws to a potential employer, would you? An online profile is an advertisement, not a confession.
Keep in mind that your “market” isn’t every member; it’s the specific kind of member who would be right for you. Target your description to weed out anybody except your market. If you’re deathly allergic to cats and simply cannot consider anyone who owns a cat, for example, state that.
Focus on specifics, and steer clear from the generic. In “Find a Husband After 35 (Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School)” (Ballantine, 2004), the author recommends you use details rather than general terms to make you stand out. Rather than, “I like working out,” write “I’m into swing dancing and I run outdoors a few times a week.”
Describe What You’re Seeking
Write the paragraphs emphasizing who—and what—you’re looking for. Avoid using too many specifics or a “grocery list” approach, which can put off good candidates. Instead, describe your general vision of the person’s qualities and character. Focus on the positives rather than the negatives. Pointing out what you don’t want in a mate is more likely to turn off a good candidate than a bad one.
Include, if you like, a statement about the kind of relationship you want. Describe what kind of date you enjoy or how you envision the relationship developing. Make this section no more than half the length of the one in which you described yourself. You want the appropriate members to recognize themselves in the description, and going on too long increases the chances they’ll read something to disincline them to respond.
Tweak your profile after a week or two if you get a large number of inappropriate or undesirable responses. Hone it to more accurately encourage the right kind of candidate and discourage the wrong kind of candidate. The success of your online dating profile isn’t measured by how many contacts you make, but by whether or not you get quality responses.