Whether you’re an online dating first-timer or someone who knows their way around various dating apps, creating a dating profile is no easy feat.
The pictures and words you use to show yourself off to prospective daters act as a first impression, and if you go about it the wrong way, you could have fewer matches and therefore fewer chances to meet a potential partner.
Most often, online daters fall into the trap of sounding or looking inauthentic, relationship coach Rachel DeAlto told INSIDER. Rather, a dating profile should zero in on your interests, explain what makes you unique, and illustrate that you’re a person worth spending one-on-one time with.
Reaching this goal can seem daunting, so INSIDER asked dating coaches for their best advice for getting these points across and optimizing your profile to get more quality dates.
Do: Take full-body profile pictures for your dating profile
Like it or not, the photos you choose for your dating profile will be the first impression other daters will have of you. “Your pictures have to be right or everyone will just move on [from your profile] because words don’t say as much as the picture,” DeAlto said.
Sharing five to seven varied images is best, but DeAlto said the full-body shot is arguably the most important since people often become disappointed after finding their in-person date looks nothing like their profile image.
Being honest about your appearance will serve you in the long run too,dating coach Rori Sassoon told INSIDER. “If you start with dishonesty, it’s like, ‘Where are we going from here?'” she said.
Don’t: Use photos that include your friends (or the toilet seat) in your dating app profile
Sharing images of you with a group of people can be confusing or off-putting, DeAlto said. If you share a snapshot of you and your same-sex friends, a prospective date could have trouble pinpointing which person you are. If you share one with your opposite-sex friends, they could get the wrong idea about your intentions.
Also, using bathroom mirror pictures that highlight the toilet seat or other, well, personal areas of your home are a big don’t. (Apparently, experts say, it’s advice that needs reiterating.)
On the other hand, sharing photos that illustrate your interests is the way to go. “Give people a conversation starter with your photo,” DeAlto said. You could post a selfie with your dog, for example, or share an image from a favorite place you’ve traveled.
Do: Lead with positivity, even if you’re nervous or skeptical about online dating
Even if you’re not sure the online dating scene is for you, DeAlto said being as positive as possible in your profile will attract others to you.
Rather than leading with all of the things you don’t like (or even using the word “don’t” at all), DeAlto suggested explaining the things you do enjoy or look for in a partner.
Don’t: Have too many non-negotiables on your dating app profile
Knowing what you look for in a partner is important, but many people are too picky, which sabotages their dating profiles, according to DeAlto.
“I only allow my clients to have four non-negotiables and they can’t be physical,” she said. “Those [four non-negotiables] are values and foundational things that make people’s relationships work.”
If you’re creating a dating profile in the hopes of finding a person who matches an exact appearance ideal you have, or someone who loves all of the same activities you do, you’ll likely find yourself frustrated with the online dating scene.
Instead, DeAlto suggested sharing a few of your hobbies or interests in your profile, like “I love the outdoors,” or, “I’m looking to meet an athletic person.”