I’ve just reviewed the resumes of more than three dozen people — three dozen pretty accomplished people, actually — people who certainly have the capacity to master the simple rules of capitalization. They’re not that hard. In fact, there’s a pretty good summary here if you’re in the mood for that kind of thing.
Yet as I’m wading through these resumes, I come across a man who refers to himself as a Masterful Implementer. Several of them described their work for Universities. One of them even had a Proven Track Record of Success. I’ll say this much. When I see words like that capitalized, I take note, though I doubt it’s in the kind of way the Masterful Implementer was hoping for.
It seems there is some fairly widely held notion that if you want to emphasize a word or idea, one of the ways you do that is by capping it. In this case, for example, the woman with a Proven Track Record of Success wanted to be sure that I understand how different she was from others who might merely have just a proven track record of success.
See the difference?
A few years back, I wrote for a place that insisted in its style guide that it should always be referred to as the College. While that stylistic quirk might have satisfied some who felt it gave the institution a certain gravitas, that gravitas did not prevent them from getting into some Big Time Financial Trouble from which they are still struggling to recover.
Part of the problem is now that we can talk/write/communicate whenever and however we want, we’re saying more, but meaning less. Words have become more plentiful and, as a result, less valuable. So we have to find ways to make them more valuable … er … I mean … Valuable. Apparently, for a lot of people, capital letters seem like a pretty good way to do that. And if they really mean business, they will throw in some quotation marks. You know, as in “Out-of-the-Box Creative Thinker.” Bet that got your attention, didn’t it?
The best way to invest more value and meaning in your language is to learn how to use it well and take the time to craft it carefully. Of course, now that I think about it, I guess that’s what I get paid to do. If everyone did that, I’d be out of work.
So, on second thought, “Never Mind.”