New Year, New You. How to Refresh Your Online Dating Profile

As you set goals for the new year and look forward to new beginnings, second chances and exciting challenges, don’t neglect to refresh your online dating profile.

We tidy up our homes post-holiday, so why not do the same to our dating lives?

(Fun fact: January is the busiest season for online dating activity. Be prepared.)

Here are some things to keep in mind when updating your dating profile:

Be specific

Eliminate vague answers and avoid clichés like the plague.

Don’t list oxygen as something you can’t live without. It won’t help anyone get to know you better. (If you can live without oxygen, however, that’s totally worth mentioning.) Don’t write about long walks on the beach or candlelit dinners. They’ve become stock answers to simply mean “I appreciate romance.” Find a better, more clever way to describe yourself and your interests.

Let your profile tell your story. Instead of saying that you like to travel, refer to some specific adventures you’ve had. Instead of calling yourself a foodie, mention the best meal you’ve ever had — or the culinary destination you hope to visit soon. If your sense of humour is one of your greatest assets, it’s more effective to let the tone of your profile reveal that than simply listing “sense of humour” as a strength.

It might take some time to craft an effective bio, but an accurate, unique, enjoyable-to-read profile will help you clarify to both yourself and potential matches who you are and what you’re looking for in a partner.

Edit for tone — and length

Don’t just edit your profile for laughs — a funny profile can be great, but make sure it’s also packed with honest information about yourself so it doesn’t read as immature — edit out anything that reads as negative. Don’t insult an ex, list deal-breakers, express skepticism about online dating, or write a bitter rant about relationships, work or politics. Even too great an emphasis on independence can come across as commitment-shy and disinterested in real partnership.

Note: also watch your punctuation. Too many exclamation marks or words in ALL CAPS can be confusing to interpret.

Even the most positive and sincere profiles, however, can be overlooked if they’re too long. You might be a great writer, but not everyone wants to read a novel. Keep it specific and concise.

Recruit an editor

Feeling stuck? Recruit a friend. Sometimes an outside perspective is more accurate than our own. Ask a trusted pal to help your edit your profile. They might be able to identify missed strengths or highlightable parts of your life story that you’ve overlooked or undervalued. A quick proofread — ideally, your friend can also clean up any spelling or grammar mistakes — might be the tuneup your profile needs.

Look critically at your pics

If it’s been a few months (or longer) since you updated your dating profile, it probably needs new photos.

Here are a few photo guidelines to follow:

Post four to six photos: enough to offer potential matches some variety, but not enough to overwhelm them — or give off the impression of narcissism.

Make sure your photos are all current. (Sure, that picture of you from college is hilarious and shows your sense of fun. But you’re not that skinny anymore. And you’re not a brunette anymore, either.) Ideally, all of your photos should be from the last few months. And if you’ve changed hairstyles, glasses, or gained or lost a significant amount of weight, make sure the new photos reflect that.

Use at least one full-body shot. If you don’t, it looks like you’re hiding something.

Smile. Choose photos that make you look happy, relaxed and approachable. Preferably with at least one of you looking at the camera.

Choose active and candid shots. If your profile describes your love of the outdoors, use a photo of you pitching a tent. If you’re a musician, share a picture of you playing your guitar. Let your photos enhance your profile and the story you’re trying to tell.

What aspects of a profile stands out to you? Share the most memorable (and effective) ones in the comments.