Job titles are an important part of the professional landscape. When searching for a new position, the job title is top of mind for potential candidates, and also what recruiters or hiring managers focus on when creating a job description. Job titles stand out, but should job titles be capitalized? It depends on how you plan to use them.
What are the rules for job title capitalization?
The rules for job title capitalization depend on various factors, including the context in which the title is used and the writing style being employed. While some employers may have specific style guides, it is important to follow these general guidelines:
- Capitalize before a name: If the job title is being used to address someone directly and it is an esteemed title, capitalize it when it appears before their name. However, if the job title is simply describing someone’s position without directly addressing them, use a lowercase letter.
- Capitalize with your signature: In direct mail or email signatures, capitalize your job title along with your name. This conveys professionalism and lends authority to your correspondence.
- Capitalize in headings on your resume: When listing job titles on your resume, capitalize them in the headings to highlight the importance of your previous and current roles.
- Optional capitalization in cover letters: While capitalizing job titles in cover letters is not strictly necessary, it can be beneficial to do so. It is advisable to review the job listing or application instructions for any specific capitalization guidelines or exceptions that the employer may have.
- Maintain consistency: It is crucial to be consistent in your capitalization choices throughout your document. Use title case for capitalization and carefully proofread to ensure the proper application of capital letters.
Are job titles capitalized?
Writing in a professional setting may call for capitalizing job titles. Depending on the type of communication piece you are writing, you will want to follow a style guide. Popular online grammar tool, Grammarly says:
“The capitalization rules for titles of books, movies, and other works vary a little between style guides.”
The most popular style guides are:
- AP — Associated Press
- APA — American Psychological Association
- The Chicago Manual of Style
- MLA — Modern Language Association
- The Oxford Guide to Style
Larger companies even have their own style guide to create a unified vision and brand. But across the board, the consensus for when to capitalize job titles is when the job title comes before a name or to remain professional when addressing a business colleague. According to Indeed,
“There are certain instances in which a job title should be capitalized. This can be on resumes, cover letters, emails or other professional documents.”
Job titles appear in both written documents or digitally on places like a Linkedin profile or job posting. Here are some examples of when to capitalize job titles.
When should a job title be lowercase rather than uppercase?
A job title should be lowercase when you are simply describing someone’s job title without directly addressing them. For example, you could say, “Dr. Freeman is a great physician.” Additionally, when a job title appears a few words after a name, it is often in lowercase. This is because it is describing a general job title rather than directly addressing people.
Should you use uppercase letters for the first letter of a job title when mentioning someone’s name and title together?
Yes, when mentioning someone’s name and title together, you can use uppercase letters for the first letter of each. For instance, you may write your name on your business card as “Director of Operations Jake Lawson.”
Should you capitalize a job title if it’s in front of someone’s name?
Yes, if someone has an esteemed title, their official title can be capitalized if it appears before their name. For example, you could address an email to “Professor Patel.”
Do you capitalize job titles in a job description?
Yes (mostly). After perusing 50+ job titles and JDs, we found that job titles are always capitalized in these instances.
In job ads, write job titles with capital letters to make them stand out. Recruiters and hiring managers put effort into creating these titles and descriptions. When you write the job title in big letters next to the company logo, it catches your attention on a job website.
All of these open positions were listed on Linkedin within the last 2 weeks. Note the capitalization of the titles.
Capitalizing Job Titles in an Email Signature
Your email signature lets people know who you are and what your role is in an organization. When including your signature in an email, do job titles get capitalized?
The answer is yes. Here are a couple of examples:
Sally Simpson, Director of Human Resources
CEO, Your Top Company
Even if your job title is on the more creative side…your title is Collector of Business Cards (Business Development Rep), you still want to capitalize your job title when it is deemed appropriate. Check out 100+ Creative & Funny Job Titles [by Department & Position] for some interesting job title ideas.
Should Job Titles be Capitalized In a Cover Letter?
It is common practice to capitalize a job title when referring to a specific role in a cover letter. For example:
I am applying for the position of Brand Manager at…
I am writing this letter in reference to the Social Media Manager position at Company XYZ…
When to Capitalize Job Titles in a Resume
When creating your resume or CV, use capital letters for job titles to make them stand out. Job titles are like headers, separating different sections. This makes it easy for the reader to see your work experience. In the main part of your resume, use regular lowercase letters to talk about your past roles. You will see both instances in the sample resume template from The Balance below:
Do you capitalize job titles in a sentence?
Do you capitalize job titles in sentences? Yes, but if you are talking about the job in general, like ‘teacher’ or ‘doctor,’ use lowercase letters. Here is an example of when not to capitalize from wikiHow:
“Don’t capitalize unofficial titles or common nouns. When the job title refers to a profession or class of jobs rather than to a specific or official title, do not put it in uppercase.
- For instance, “Janice Buckley is a microbiologist,” or “Here are some tips from painter John Green.” In both cases, these job titles are being used to describe a profession rather than an official title, so they shouldn’t be capitalized.”
If you are not directly speaking about the job title, there is no need to use capital letters. The Fairygodboss’s article on cleaning up your resume talks about when to capitalize job titles in a cover letter. She says,
“…if your cover letter doesn’t explicitly state the role you’re applying for (and it doesn’t have to, that could be in the email subject line) and you just mention joining the team, you won’t have to capitalize that (example: “I’m excited to discuss how I’d contribute to the sales team,” not “I’m excited to discuss how I’d contribute to the Sales Team”).”
What words don’t you capitalize in a title?
Now that we’ve covered when to capitalize job titles, and when not to…here are some words you don’t need to capitalize in job titles any time.
- “of” — for example: VP of Marketing
- “the” or “to” — e.g., Assistant to the President
- “in” — for example: Director of Sales in Tech Markets
I recommend you make them lower-case to provide contrast to your more important words “Marketing,” “President,” “Sales.”
Thank you, experts on Capitalizing Job Titles!
- Taylor Houston’s article on What’s Your Style?: Style Guides and How to Use Them
- Indeed’s article on When Should You Capitalize Job Titles? (With Tips and Examples)
- The Fairygodboss’s article on It’s Time to Clean Up Your Resume — Here’s How to Know if You’re Capitalizing Titles Wrong
- The Balance Careers’ Sample Cover Letter and Resume for a Recruiting Manager
- Linkedin’s Job Listings Page
- Asana’s Talent Acquisition Partner Job Listing
- Canva’s Global Director of Talent Acquisition Job Listing
- ChemoCentryx’s Talent Acquisition Associate Job Listing
- TikTok’s Talent Acquisition Lead Job Listing
- Autodesk’s Director, Talent Acquisition Programs Job Listing
- Marina Lukyanchuk’s blog on Capitalization Rules
- Alexander Petermans’ article on How to Know when to Capitalize Job Titles
- Mignon Fogarty’s article on Capitalizing Job Titles
Why I wrote this?
My Ongig team and I share this research on job titles because it’s related to our mission: to transform job descriptions. Check out Ongig.com to learn more.