Knowing when to capitalize job titles can be tricky: is it an official title or just describing someone's role? The rules for the capitalization of job titles depend on the order of the words, the use of the words, and whether or not the job title is used as part of the person's name.
When deciding how you should capitalize a job title, keep the following general rules and guidelines in mind.
Capitalize a job title that comes immediately before the person's name or is used as part of their name when addressing them. In this case, the job title is usually replacing their first name.
Examples would be Professor Plum, Chairman Scarlett, or President Obama.
The title might also give more information, like Dean of Students Thomas, Head of Internal Development Lee, or Speaker of the House Foley.
If the job title comes after the person's name, or is used instead of the person's name, then it is generally not capitalized. This would be the case with Sarah Smith, chairman of the board; Holden Lavesque, accounts receivable clerk; or the governor of California.
However, there are exceptions to this rule:
The rule of capitalization of job titles applies to abbreviations too. So, General Grant would be written as Gen. Grant.
You generally wouldn't use the abbreviated form after a person's name, though: "Joan Smith, acct mgr, is present." Here, you would write the full job title "account manager" and keep it lowercase.
Here are some examples of these rules in sentences:
To summarize the capitalization of job titles, you capitalize the job title when it comes immediately before the name, in a formal context or in direct address. It is not generally capitalized if it comes after the person's name, or if there is a "the" before it.