If you’re single, ready to mingle and hoping to eventually settle down, you can’t discount the importance of online dating these days. Even if you don’t consider yourself tech-savvy and you find it hard to believe you’d ever meet someone of value via the interwebs, the industry continues to grow and cater to every type of love interest and goal. This creates numerous opportunities but also, competition. And to standout in the massive universe that is online dating, co-founder of LoveAndMatchmaking.com, Rachel Federoff says you have to go above and beyond when you’re writing your online profile. “Think of it as submitting a killer resume for your dream job. It could change your life. It’s your one shot to outshine the others and get the attention you deserve. You’re selling yourself and you want to attract the perfect buyer,” she continues. “The key is simple: be authentic, but the best authentic you ever. In other words, your true self just the awesome version.”
If you aren’t exactly a wordsmith, don’t sweat it. The key to developing your personal brand is by following a few do’s and don’ts, curated by experts who have been there, penned that. Take their words of wisdom and put ‘em on paper (or er, online) with this helpful guide:
Do: Remain positive.
Most single people will experience their fair share of disappointments, letdowns and frustrations in the search of love. From people who ghost or catfish you to relationships that seemed promising, but didn’t stand the test of time, it’s easy to fall into a negative mindset. Even if you aren’t exactly shouting from the rooftops with excitement that you’re online dating, matchmaker Susan Trombetti says it’s better to keep those pity-party feelings away from your profile. “There is already so much negativity around dating that you don’t want to add more to it. Plus, you don’t attract as many people when you come off so negative,” she continues. “You need to be positive on a profile much the same as you are in life to attract people. No one wants to talk to the crabby neighbor or the nasty coworker.”
Don’t: Say you’ll answer it later.
Take a quick breeze through your dating app of choice. When you stumble across someone attractive, but for whatever reason, most of their answer boxes are blank or say ‘I’ll fill this out later’ or ‘Ask me’ — are you enticed to match with ‘em? Probably not, and Federoff says this is a huge mistake. People are turned off by singles who aren’t willing to put in the elbow grease required to create an interesting online dating profile, and are more likely to swipe ‘nah’ on you. “The questions are there for a reason, so people can look for things in common! It’s all about effort,” she continues. “This says you clearly have no time for a real relationship and maybe you need to go ‘swiping’ instead.”
Do: Ask a pal to read.
If you ask your close circle of friends, they’ll brag about what an amazing storyteller you are, and how you capture the attention of a room. But while that anecdote about your drunkest night in college is killer, it’s probably better to perform in person. Trombetti says often times, people will ramble or go off on tangents, and think they’re putting their best face forward. Instead, seek the opinion of a friend you trust to ensure you’re sending the right message. “You want to put your best self out there and not be cliché. Talk about you and things you are looking for with a partner and in life. You need to make someone excited to meet you in real life,” she adds.
Don’t: Be a dictator.
Sure, we all have dealbreakers — they keep us accountable and prevent us from settling. Though it’s important to set some boundaries that you won’t smudge on — like dating someone who wants kids or isn’t a smoker — you don’t want to lead your profile with everything you’re against. Federoff says too often people will say ‘If you don’t have at least three pictures, don’t contact me’ or ‘If you don’t love hot dogs, don’t match with me.’ This is a major turn-off, since you come across as overly picky. Instead, talk about what you really do like in another person, and hope they reach out to you.
Do: Be flirty and fun.
As Trombetti puts it, your flirtiness is like a marketing hook. You want someone to be enticed by you — without putting a ton of pressure on your could-be relationship. “The person reading doesn’t care about your children or your job at this point; they only care about how they felt when they read your profile,” she explains. “Leave them wanting to know more about you on a date. Leave them wanting to flirt back and engage. That’s what dating is about at first. Fun and flirtatious banter on a date always make you feel alive and that’s what you want to capture in the profile.”
Don’t: Lie about your age.
Or your height. Or the fact that you’re balding. Or that you’ve put in a few pounds recently. As soon as you meet someone in person, most of these seemingly white omissions will become very clear, and your potential partner will feel betrayed, according to relationship expert and love coach, Susan Winter. “Though you’ve lied to capture them, the lie will repel them. Now, they have ‘just cause’ to not trust you. What else have you lied about, or will lie about in the future?,” she explains. Instead, be unafraid to be unapologetically yourself. Someone who really values who you are and cares about you will accept everything you perceive as a flaw.
Do: Ask a question.
Online dating expert Julia Spira says there’s nothing better than a profile that makes you want to ask a question or feel instantly attracted to a person. Perhaps it’s saying ‘Can you guess where I am in this photo?’ or ‘Do you know where I’m skydiving?’ or ‘Ask me about that time I ran into a celebrity and ended up driving across the country.’ This not only challenges someone but will make them interested in your unique way of life and adventures. “It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t want to get the correct answer, and it results in starting a chat, that might include giving additional clues until your potential date figures out the answer,” she shares.
Don’t: Mention your exes.
Repeat after Trombetti: you should never, ever mention your exes in your online dating profile. It’s fine to list that you’re divorced, but a partner who wants a future with you doesn’t want to start your relationship discussing the past. “We shouldn’t hear that you became very self aware and a better person after therapy due to your PTSD from your divorce. It still sounds bad, even if you know you are so much better for it and it’s your story,” she explains. “Most people have an ex. At a certain point, many people have an ex spouse and kids. Everyone knows what that’s about and you aren’t unique in the ghastly details. Be unique and spare them.”