So you downloaded the the dating app, uploaded a few photos and synced your Facebook, Linkedin, Spotify and Instagram accounts to populate your location, hometown, age, height, favorite band, company name and title. That was easy, wasn’t it? Not so fast. While it’s true that most people only review the main profile photo when doing a first pass on profiles and also true photos can account for 90%+ of the decision making process on whether to swipe left or right, bios should not be ignored.

Online dating profile bios are essential piece of the puzzle to have in your online dating toolkit. While bios and answers will not make up for bad, unflattering selfies and ambiguous group shots, they can provide some insight, confidence and context that photos do not always convey. They provide a creative outlet to write about yourself, observations about topics of the hour, ambitions, guilty pleasures, wittiness and obsessions. They also help to reveal intentions by showing how much thought and effort you put into marketing yourself. Thin profiles and using synced data only will make it difficult for people to take your seriously.

A bio should not read like a resume, it should complement your photos and not be summary of your Linkedin profile. Adding places lived, favorite tv show, and favorite dish are good starts but you still need some dimension, life in your bios. Similarly a list of adjectives can be biased, possibly inaccurate and impossible to invalidate online. It’s not any better if you frame the list of qualities through a third person: “My friends say I am caring, thoughtful, loving” blah, blah, blah. Friends can be biased, friends may not want to hurt your feelings and maybe your friends can’t be trusted – who knows? I call these characteristics empty adjectives. Many people have a hard time being honest about themselves (just look at your co-workers LinkedIn profile). 

A great bio should reveal anecdotal insights, passions, beliefs,curiosities, guilty pleasures, some embarrassing tidbits and priorities. Short examples that illustrate points are great. Taking a stand vs. trying to be the most agreeable or interesting man in the world is preferred. No one wants an exact clone of themselves. Be original, be you. It’s easier to connect with someone through a distant, random or obscure reference than it is through something cliche and mainstream. Don’t be boring: brunch, the Office, Game of Thrones will not get you far (see how many boxes you check off in this online dating profile bingo card).

Nouns like hiker, traveler, foodie etc. offer no insight into frequency, prioritization or level of commitment. Are you a lazy Land’s End hiker or are you a weekend warrior that does 3-4 hour hikes. Are you a beachy resort traveler or do you like to immerse yourself in culture and languages with locals different than yourself? Are you a superficial Instagram traveler or do you have some depth to your curiosity. Do you like safe chain restaurants, dives featured on No Reservations or posh Michelin rated restaurants. Be careful about vague descriptions in your profile. The more vague the less interesting you will sound.

Bios should not read like a novel but they should have substance. A balance of flow, randomness, self-deprecating humor, insight is key for a good bio. Many folks strike out when it comes to bios. Don’t let that be you. Most people never seek unbiased feedback on their bios and profiles an the ones that do often times get biased feedback or have context into your bio and photos that a stranger does not. Friends, family members and co-workers may not want to be brutally honest with you or they might have some advantage that allows them more flexibility to get away with breaking guidelines for photos and bios.

Now that you have the basics down for writing a bio, check out this guide to optimize your bio and make sure you are not self-sabotaging your efforts. For pointers on what kind of photos to use you on your profile (and what to avoid) check out this dating photo guide.

If you still feel lost and need some help figuring out what to say and how to say it, I offer a dating profile assessment to help optimize your bio. I am not a ghostwriter but I will provide structure, make sure there is no self-sabotage and make sure you are hitting all the important aspects of your life and what you have to offer.

For additional tips about dating apps, profile photos, bios, prompts, check out my blog.