Resume Capitalization Rules and Guidelines

So you are applying for a job that requires a resume and want to make sure it looks the best it can. A resume encapsulates all of your accomplishments, from your educational attainment to your related experiences. Your resume is the first impression you make on a new employer and so adherence to proper grammar conventions is a must. Your future employer could make the decision between you and another candidate solely based on grammar alone if all other parts of the applications are similar. While there are a lot of grammar rules that go into resumes, today we will focus only on resume capitalization rules.

There are a lot of rules that you should take into consideration when creating resumes. But capitalization rules are one of the most important things to consider since employers often scan a resume in under six seconds to determine whether they should read further. Not only is capitalization one of the first things that your employee might see, but it’s also important to highlight the important parts of your resume such as your previous jobs and education. Hence, capitalization rules are very important so that you can show that you pay attention to details to your future employer. In this article, we will highlight some common resume capitalization rules. Please be mindful of these rules because they could make or break your next job application.

If you want to quickly and easily capitalize parts of your resume, you can use our free title capitalization tool here.

Capitalizing Job Titles

Job titles are one of the most complicated resume capitalization rules. In most cases, people would tend to capitalize on their job titles since these are hard earned titles. However, you shouldn’t necessarily capitalize job titles all of the time. There are instances when you have to capitalize on job titles, but there are also times when you do not. Take a look at some of these resume capitalization rules under job titles.

  1. You should capitalize specific job titles. However, do not capitalize a job title if it is used as a general job description. For instance:

Specific job title: “As the Program Chair of the Department of Management…”

General job title: “I am seeking a position as a program chair…”

2. Capitalize a job title if it precedes the name of the person. For instance:

Chief Executive Officer Mark Thomas.”

Vice President Henry Griffin.”

3. Capitalize a job title if it used as a heading in the resume. For instance:

“Chief Operating Officer (2015-2016)”

“Branch Manager (2010-present)”

4. Do not capitalize a job title when it is used to describe the person. For instance:

“Mark Thomas, the chief executive officer of…”

“the vice president of administration, Henry Griffin…”

5. Do not capitalize on job titles if you place them as part of a summary of jobs.

“In my fifteen years as an employee, I worked as a professional teacher, a college professor, a clinical instructor, and a clinical nurse.”

Capitalizing Work Experience

Usually, you do not capitalize the descriptions of your work experiences. In most situations, you would only state the nature of your previous related work. However, you should note that there are always exemptions to the rule. You should capitalize parts of your work experiences if they include a proper noun – such as product or company names, acronyms or initials. You should also capitalize the first word in the sentence. Let’s see how these resume capitalization rules are applied by studying the example below.

Example: “Developed a new content management system (CMS) for the Seattle Public Library.”

In the prior sentence, “CMS” is capitalized because it is an acronym and “Seattle Public Library” is capitalized because it is a proper noun.

Capitalizing Degree Programs

One of the resume capitalization rules that you should pay special attention to is the capitalization of degree programs. Here are the rules to remember.

1. You should capitalize the name of the degree program if it is a proper noun or refers to a specific subject that you studied. Usually, these proper nouns are languages. For instance:

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Bachelor of Arts in French

2. Do not capitalize on the majors, programs, academic disciplines, and courses of study. For instance:

    • D. in marine biology
    • S. in environmental and natural resources

3. Here’s where it gets a little tricky. You can capitalize on the degree on your resume as long as you list it as your degree. For instance:

    • Harvard University – BA in History, summa cum laude (2010-2014)
    • University of Virginia – BS in Computer Science, cum laude (2015-2019)

4. Capitalize academic degrees only when the full name of the degree is used. For instance:

5. Capitalize the abbreviations of academic degrees. Depending on the style preferred, you may or may not put a period in between these abbreviations. For instance.

    • MA in education
    • D. in environmental sustainability

6. Do not capitalize if the program is used as a general reference. For instance:

    • I have a master’s degree in education major in mathematics.
    • I have a master’s degree in biology, a master’s degree in physics, and a doctorate degree in science education.

Capitalizing Offices and Departments

You have to capitalize the name of the offices or establishments only when you use the official name. For instance:

  1. Department of Arts, Sciences, and Teaching Education
  2. Basic Education Department
  3. Institute of Culinary Arts

You should take note that there are some departments or offices which contain proper nouns. Hence, they should always be capitalized. Be cautious with these resume capitalization rules because some people tend to overlook this.

  1. Timber Lane Elementary School
  2. Seattle Department of Transportation

Other Resume Capitalization Rules

Aside from those which we have mentioned above, there are other resume capitalization rules that you should always remember.

  1. A common convention in any formal writing, the first word of each sentence should be capitalized. Even when writing in bullet points, you should still capitalize on the first word of each point. Even short sentences.
  2. Always capitalize the names of companies. Some of these company names tend to be a little tricky, so you should have ample idea on the correct capitalization. If in doubt, better double check the name online.
  3. Always capitalize proper nouns. Of course, this is a basic rule of English title capitalization.
  4. Never write in all caps. It’s a common rule in all forms of writing. Some consider it as shouting, so you better be careful.

Conclusion

Resume capitalization rules can get a little tricky, especially if you lack the knowledge on which words to capitalize. Therefore, you need to understand these rules very well so you could create the perfect resume to impress your future employer. As they say, practice makes perfect. Keep on practicing as you improve. And also, good luck job hunting!

And remember, if you want to easily capitalize your resume job titles and other headers, try out our free title capitalization tool.

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