How to write a killer dating profile

If you take time to write a killer dating profile you’ll be rewarded with more responses from the type of people you like, and you’ll also have a ready-made About Me section if you swap sites.

When you sign up with a site, they will ask you to pick a user name and some kind of headline (more on the headline here). Try to make your screen name stand out a bit. If you opt for Deborah1975 it suggests you haven’t got much in the way of wit or personality. Try to pick something that doesn’t require a string of numbers after it. Something clean like thenewsinatra or lastbohemian is good for your killer dating profile.

You are then asked some questions. Most are just tickbox, multiple choice affairs, but a few (the crucial bits) require you to say some stuff in your own words.

If you spend any time at all reading online dating profiles, you will see that most single women in Britain are “as happy in killer heels as hiking boots”. Of course, nights in and nights out are equally popular, as is red wine and cosy nights in front of a DVD, ideally in front of a roaring fire. All very nice pursuits, of course, but they make for a very cliched dating profile. Our killer dating profile will do better than that.

So what is the secret to composing something that’s fresh, sums you up and isn’t a real chore to write?

It’s really simple...

It’s this...

Get a nice, big blank piece of paper. Buy some pencils, biros, fluorescent markers and whatever stationery floats your boat because it’s time to get creative. In the top third of the page, start jotting down as much as you possibly can about yourself – don’t censor anything yet.

Come on, everything: what your interests are, what matters most to you, what you couldn’t live without, your job, how you feel about it, your dream job, what type of holidays you like, films and other entertainment and any quirks you have. Whatever crosses your mind.

Think back to all the bad partners you’ve had and note down what made them bad! Feel feel to write down anything at all, including all your worst fears, dislikes and prejudices.

And what are your core values? This might sound a bit OTT but it’s very important for writing a killer dating profile. Shared values are probably the most important thing when it comes to finding a match.

After all, a man and a woman might share their three greatest passions – cycling, food and family life – but if one of them’s a hard right-winger who backs massive cuts to social security benefits, and the other is a social worker, are they going to get along?

This brainstorming is the core of your killer dating profile – put some effort into this and the rest will fall into place. Starting a whole profile from scratch can be a dispiriting experience, especially if writing isn’t your strong point. Brainstorming is much easier and more fun.

So what does Katie, our hypothetical 33-year-old internet dater from London, have for her killer dating profile after 10 minutes?

"Outgoing, running, adventure holidays, event manager, peach allergy, Mike Leigh films, hate cheats/liars! Wine, Greek islands, family time, hate cheats/liars!, indie cinema, 80s music, karaoke, pub quizzes, pointless conversations, walking in forests, Peep Show, shoulders! Open to moving out of London – countryside? No moodiness. Non-smoker, easy company, no neurotics! Start my own business? Kids!??? Not too sports mad. Addictions – no boozers, stoners!"

Okay, a good start. You can always add to the list. You’ll notice that the ghost of relationships past crops up when she says “Addictions – booze???!!” and possibly in the bit where she says “hate cheats/liars!” It’s understandable but we think a bit pointless.

You might as well pick from any number of things – after all, does she want someone who never communicates, or who’s got huge debts, or who’s lazy either? She could list any number of things from the range of human imperfections. We’re not advising against it but remember not to sound too bitter and on edge.

As for the more positive type of lists, they can be a good way to paint a picture of your life, so that those with a similar kind of approach can single you out from the crowd.

They go wrong when people are too specific about what they are looking for. You need to be reasonable and realistic about what is truly non-negotiable. We asked Sarah, 38, to describe what she is looking for. She said:

“Hmmm. Funny, tall, kind, probably with dark hair, non-smoker, good looking but not ridiculously so, into the same sort of TV and films as me, intelligent, same sense of humour, not obsessed by sport, likes a drink but not too much so. Probably left-leaning, not massively into politics, but aware enough. Self-deprecating, warm, thoughtful, good in a crisis – ooh able to do flat pack furniture, good with IT, charismatic, maybe ideally a couple of years older than me, but not too much more. Confident, but kind of sensitive.”

Wow. He sounds great. Daniel Craig might play him in the movie. In other words, she is asking a lot there. Just by stipulating hair and height, she’s cutting out thousands of men, many of them otherwise suited to her. So if we twisted her arm and demanded that she chop that list down to four things, she might say:

“Arrrrgh, get off my arm: funny, confident, non-smoker, kind.”

Much more reasonable.

* Read all the articles in this great series at selfshots under the Dating tips section.