5 Ways to Make Your Dating Profile Stand Out

woman looking at phone

First impressions are made in seconds.

One year ago, I received an online message that would change my life.

Hi! My name’s Pat. I really enjoyed reading a profile that mentions faith and helping others. Both somewhat rare, from what I’ve seen. I’d love to learn more about you, make a new volunteering friend and maybe see it grow into something more. I look forward to hearing from you!

I didn’t know it at the time, but my three years of online dating were about to end. A few sentences in my profile attracted the man who is now my fiancé, and my search for a godly match was over.

Navigating the online dating scene for those three years, I often felt like I was competing with a sea of candidates. First impressions are made in seconds. So how can someone make sure his or her profile stands out from the pack?  Turns out there’s more science to online dating than algorithms. Here are tips on how to make the most of your online profile.

1. Be yourself.

This may sound obvious, but the first rule of profile creation should be to accurately represent yourself. You want to attract someone for the real you, not a fake version of yourself. If you are really into Star Wars and chilidogs, say so. Trying to be someone you’re not will only attract the wrong people. Plus, they’ll figure it out when you meet, so it’s best to be honest from the start.

Being yourself is especially important when it comes to your faith. You want to catch the eye of the kind of man or woman who is attracted to a person of faith. When my fiancé messaged me for the first time, the very first compliment he gave me was that I mentioned both faith and service to my community in my interests, and that made him want to know me more.

2. Engage your audience.

When you’re creating a profile, it can be tempting to focus on expressing yourself or downloading information rather than engaging the person on the other side of the screen. Think of it this way: If you met someone you liked at a party, you would smile, crack a joke and make pleasant conversation based on mutual interests. Your profile should be the same.

While we all have our unique interests, consider sharing the activities you like that have wide appeal to both genders. For guys, a two-sentence profile that focuses on hunting, fishing and sports cars might not give a woman a lot to connect with you. Whereas if you mention liking to travel or checking out old diners, she’s more likely to have her own experiences to share.

Stephen Moorcroft of ChristianCafe.com offers this great tip for engaging your audience: “Add a question or two in your profile which others might be able to answer for you. This will offer them the chance they may be looking for to write you. For example, ‘I love talking about advances in science and how they continually point to God’s power. What really gets your blood pumping about God or nature?’ “

Take a look at your profile and ask yourself, does this seem more like an opening to a conversation or a personal essay? Think about your profile like a movie trailer — it introduces the characters and hits the highlights, just enough to catch a person’s interest without giving away the whole story. The purpose is to get the viewer, or reader, to want to know the rest of the story.

3. Keep it positive.

Most people want to marry someone who is optimistic and positive, rather than someone who is a human Eeyore. In her book, Data: A Love Story, author Amy Webb analyzed how the most popular women on JDate interacted with the male profiles that she set up. Webb noted that the popular women followed a few key principles:

  1. The women kept it light and focused on what they liked rather than a list of things they didn’t.
  2. They most frequently used positive words like fun, adventure, easy-going and friends.

One way to keep it positive is to watch your mood and mindset while you’re writing your profile. Moorcroft recommends that even something as small as smiling while you’re writing can make a difference, “When we smile and write, it shows,” he says. “It tells others you are happy and well-adjusted, and that you would be an excellent person with whom to share one’s life.”

4. Choose your photos wisely.

Today’s world is visual. It is easy to become discouraged when OKCupid posts data showing that the duck face pose is in fact the most popular pose for female photos. And the lifted-shirt ab shot for men is all too popular.

As Christians, we are held to the words of the apostle Paul, “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God” (1 Timothy 2:9-10, NIV).

Of course, Paul likely couldn’t imagine a day of men throwing up beefcake pics and tickets to the “gun show.” But I’m pretty sure his advice holds just as much for the men of today as for the women.

So starting from a base of modesty, what else?  In Webb’s research, she found that the most popular women posted only a handful of photos and the best ones showed the person engaged in a favorite activity, or in the midst of laughing at a friend’s joke.

It also may be a good idea to show your pictures to a trusted Christian friend and ask if that person thinks the picture shows you at your best. Or consider asking a friend who does photography as a profession or hobby to take a few candid photos — which are highly preferable to a fuzzy selfie.

5. Trust God.

As you are constructing your profile, don’t stress over every detail. A handful of flattering photos, some engaging words about who you are and your favorite activities, and you’re done.

I made profiles several times over. There is no magic to it. My fiancé thinks he messaged me on two different sites, meaning he saw two different versions of my profile. If I added one detail or left out another, it made no difference.

God is bigger than dating sites and algorithms. I believe that the Bible shows repeatedly that God asks us to step out and take actions in faith, but He also has a plan that is bigger than what we could ever do. If God intends for you to meet your significant other through the dating site, then you will. Create a profile that represents you well, then trust God to take care of the details.

Copyright Joanna Saul 2016. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Joanna Saul

Joanna Saul lives in Columbus, Ohio, and is a graduate of THE Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) and Georgetown Law.  She runs the Modern Ruth Project and works in state government to help the disadvantaged and has recently started a walking program for her local community.  As a 30-something singleton, she is passionate about using her time to serve God’s people.