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I answered the phone last week, and without even a hello my friend barked, “He looked NOTHING like his photo and was about a decade older!”

Sound familiar?

The number one complaint online daters have is that the person they meet is completely different than the person depicted on the dating site.


“Writing your online dating profile is like writing a good cover letter in a job search”


Writing your online dating profile is like writing a good cover letter in a job search — its sole purpose is to capture the reader’s interest so that he or she wants to meet you and learn more. You can market yourself effectively without inventing a whole new persona.

Online daters come across many profiles, so it is important to distinguish yourself. Believe it or not, simple things like checking your spelling, posting a good photo, and keeping the write-up concise and upbeat can be the difference between someone following up with you, or clicking onto someone else.

Here are some other ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to keep in mind when you’re constructing your dating profile:

Do Post Photos


“Most people miss the boat if they don’t include a photo in their profile.”


Most people miss the boat if they don’t include a photo in their profile. If you’re too shy to include one upfront, make it clear that you will offer the photo if you feel a connection with someone who writes to you. You should be aware that many, if not most, people won’t even look at a profile if there isn’t a photo included with it.


Don’t Post Many Photos

I know you have many cute looks — on the go, with your family, or with that really great tan last year in Mexico — but resist the urge to post more than a couple of photos or else you’ll overwhelm your audience who won’t have a clue which photo you actually look like now.


Post a Photo of Yourself Solo

Your niece may be really adorable or you may want to show that you hang out with cute members of the opposite sex, but it’s better to stay solo in your photo online — and on that note, don’t include a photo where you’ve cut off someone’s arm wrapped around you. C’mon! Digital cameras make it easy to get at least one good shot of you on your own!

Create a Compelling Essay

  • DO be concise but specific to ensure you capture the reader’s interest. Instead of saying, “I love to travel” mention the best trip you’ve ever taken. Replace “I have a good sense of humor” with something witty. Bottom line: show don’t tell!

  • DON’T justify why you’re online and say things like, “My mother made me do this but I hate online dating” Stay upbeat and humorous and you’re more likely to get noticed.

  • DO have someone else (preferably of the opposite sex) proof your profile to make sure it flows, highlights your best qualities and is free of spelling and grammatical errors.

  • Remember — online dating is like speed dating — you have a very small window to make your impression.

Finally, a note about honesty — not telling the truth about your relationship status, the way you currently look, or exaggerating certain characteristics has become the cardinal online dating sin.

My friend insists that the majority of men who post their height at 5′ 9″ are often 5′ 7″ or under and many women who post 29-years-old are actually over 30.


“It’s generally not a good idea to embellish too much since a big part of dating is about expectations.”


It’s generally not a good idea to embellish too much since a big part of dating is about expectations. And really, do you really want to start out dating someone new by being dishonest?

It is true that online dating can be like a big bargain sale — you may have to sift through some junk to find the gems. Don’t let that deter you. There are some amazing people waiting to meet you online. Have fun!

Daters tell Andrea Syrtash about what works and what doesn’t in online dating. See her tips for creating an online dating profile that attracts the people you really want to meet.

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Born in Toronto, Canada, Andrea Syrtash has been living in the United States for almost a decade. Andrea served as special editor for two books, “How to Survive the Real World” and “How to Survive Your In-Laws“, and has written and lectured extensively on dating and living your best life. She has offered advice on NPR, in USA Today, as a writer for The Huffington Post and on NBC’s Today Show. A graduate of The Coaches Training Institute, Andrea has been working with clients as a Life Coach over the past few years. She writes and hosts a dating advice show, ONDating, produced by NBC Digital Studios for ON Networks.


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