When creating professional materials, there may be instances where you need to include your job title or address someone else by theirs. You should capitalize job titles correctly to ensure you're being respectful to the person you're addressing and to show professionalism when mentioning your own role. This is why it's best to be knowledgeable about AP style guidelines and grammar rules.
In this article, we discuss the importance of capitalizing job titles correctly, with tips and examples to help you properly capitalize job titles in your own documents.
Should you capitalize job titles?
There are certain instances in which a job title should be capitalized. This can be on resumes, cover letters, emails or other professional documents. Capitalizing a certain job title can depend on the writing style of the piece you're creating, proper grammatical rules and style guidelines. There are also times when you should capitalize someone's job title to remain professional and respectful to the person you're addressing.
When and how to capitalize job titles
As you list a job title in your professional document, you should first analyze how you're using the job title. The decision to capitalize a job title can vary depending on its placement and how you intend to use it.
Here are the instances in which you should capitalize job titles:
Before a name
If you're referring to someone with an esteemed title like Professor or Dr., you would capitalize their title if it's in front of their name. If you're mentioning someone by name and title, they would both remain in uppercase letters for the first letter of each. When you're simply describing their job title rather than addressing them directly by the job title, you can use lowercase. For example, you could say, "Dr. Adams is a great physician."
When a job title is featured after a name, like in the previous example, it's usually in lowercase rather than uppercase, since it's merely being described as a general job title rather than directly addressing someone.
In your signature
When signing your name in a direct mail or email signature, capitalize your job title along with your name. This establishes your professionalism and helps your email look authoritative. As you write your job title and name in your signature, type your name first, followed by a comma and space, and then your job title. Alternatively, you could use a line break between your name and title.
As a resume heading
As you build your resume and include your job titles in your work experience section, you should capitalize them when featured as headings. This keeps your resume looking neat, consistent and professional. Capitalizing your previous or current job titles in a resume also shows hiring managers that you take your role seriously and see yourself as a professional employee.
If you're describing your role throughout the rest of your resume, you can include it in the document's body using lowercase lettering. Since many resumes follow common AP style, keeping your job title as lowercase in the body text is typically the best way to follow those rules.
Mentioning job titles in a cover letter
When drafting your cover letter, capitalizing the title of the role you're applying to is optional. However, whether you capitalize or not, you should always be consistent. Some candidates choose to continue following AP style guidelines and will mention the role using lowercase. They may continue following this rule as they write their previous job titles in lowercase as well.
Others may choose to capitalize the job title they're applying to, as the uppercase lettering stands out more. A great way to determine whether you should capitalize the job title in a cover letter is to look at the job posting. If the company regularly capitalizes the title as it's mentioned throughout, you can capitalize it in your document as well.
Tips for capitalizing job titles
It can be challenging to ensure you're capitalizing job titles properly throughout your resume, cover letter and other professional documents. Use these tips to help you follow proper capitalization rules:
Remain consistent with your capitalization
In instances like creating your cover letter, you may decide to capitalize job titles in the document. If you do this, remain consistent by capitalizing the job title throughout the entire letter. Proofread the document after writing it, or use the Find and Replace feature in your program to locate the job title wherever it's mentioned. Make sure it's consistently capitalized to keep it looking professional and presentable to hiring managers.
Use title case when capitalizing
If you do capitalize your job titles, you should capitalize principal words as well as the first and last words in the title. Prepositions should be in lowercase form. An example of this is: "Vice President of Digital and Media Communications."
Once you've completed your work, double-check it to make sure you've included proper capitalization throughout. You can proofread it carefully yourself to ensure everything is consistent and clear, or you can ask a friend to read through the piece to make sure you capitalized everything correctly.
You can also use online resources and install plug-ins that ensure you're using correct grammar and style throughout. Different AP style guidebooks online can help ensure that you're following proper formatting and rules.
Job title capitalization examples
Refer to the following examples of different job titles to better understand how and when to capitalize them:
Taylor Jacobs, Director of Marketing
Resume heading and body
SalesTrust United, Associate Director of Sales
- As an associate director of sales, I led the sales team by providing training and orientation programs to more than 20 staff members.