Do You Capitalize Career Titles?
It is increasingly common to see job titles, either those belonging to the writer or someone else, presented in various forms of capitalization. Is one approach more correct than another?
What Is Standard?
The basic rule is that job titles should be capitalized when they immediately precede a personal name and lowercase elsewhere. For example:
- President Barack Obama attended the summit.
- Barack Obama, president of the United States, attended the summit.
When a job title follows the person’s name, it is usually set in lowercase. Additionally, job titles that appear alone (without a person’s name) should also be in lowercase.
But What About Professional Titles?
Capitalization can also vary depending if a job title is seen as a professional title or not. For example, if you have a doctorate, you would be described as Doctor Smith, while someone with a master’s degree is usually referred to as Mr./Ms. Smith.
Does It Matter?
In some cases, the choice of capitalization will have a direct impact on how people view a person and how their job is perceived. For example, people in the military who hold a title of General usually demand that others capitalize their title when addressing them.
In other cases, the choice of capitalization may simply be a personal preference, or a reflection of the cultural conventions of the industry.
In any case, it is important to be consistent in the way you present job titles, whether you use a capital or lowercase letter. You don’t want to come across as a sloppy writer or confuse people about who you are referring to.