Tuesday, August 05, 2008

"Smart" Quotes in E-Resumes

Do you have quotation marks in the text of your resume? If so, better check that they're smart enough (but not too smart) to survive a trip through cyberspace.

Smart quotes (also called curly quotes) are quotation marks that, when placed at the beginning and end of a line of text, will curl toward the text. The quotation mark at the beginning of the text will curl to the right; the quotation mark at the end of the text will curl to the left. In hardcopy documents, smart quotes are considered cool but unfortunately they don't always look right when they're posted online or get pasted into the body of an email message -- on the recipient's screen they sometimes get transformed into odd rectangles that don't make sense.

For that reason, it's best to replace smart quotes with straight quotes in all your e-resumes. As the name suggests, straight quotes do not curl toward the text and they transfer accurately over the Internet.

In MS Word 2007, here's how to replace curly quotes with straight quotes.

1. Click the Office Button in your toolbar and select Word Options, found in the lower right corner of the window.
2. After the Word Options box opens, click the Proofing button in the left column, then click AutoCorrect Options.
3. Click the AutoFormat tab and make sure Replace Straight Quotes With Smart Quotes is not selected.
4. Click the AutoFormat As You Type tab and make sure Replace Straight Quotes With Smart Quotes is not selected. Then click OK to exit the AutoCorrect Options box.
5. Click OK to close the Word Options box.
6. Open the Plain Text version of your resume and manually delete and retype each quotation mark in your document (or user the Replace option found in the far right side of your Home toolbar).

These instructions were created as a draft for the update of my E-Resume Guide. I would appreciate feedback, so if you get stuck following these steps, please email me or make a comment to this post so I can get you unstruck, and improve my instructions. Thank you!

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