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Capitalising job titles

A few months ago someone asked me (as a comment in a blog post) about capitalising the words in a job title.

My response, in summary, was that job titles don’t need to be capitalised although it is not technically wrong to do so. The exceptions being a title as part of a name (e.g. Doctor Jones) and someone in a key national role (e.g. Prime Minister, Treasurer).

I also noted that some companies list capital letters for extra words as part of their corporate style guide. Thus, we get companies writing about their Managing Director, Marketing Manager and Company when managing director, marketing manager and company would be perfectly acceptable and easier to read.

While I respect that each company can set their own brand, what annoys me is the inconsistency of such capitalisation. That is, most (maybe all!) of those companies would quite happily write about Jack the receptionist, Simone the cleaner and Justine the forklift driver while referring to Craig the Chairman and Mary the Operations Manager.

It annoys me because it is inconsistent (and therefore distracting and harder to read) but also because I find it disrespectful. Using capital letters is usually done as a sign of respect to the person in the job – does a receptionist, cleaner or forklift driver not deserve respect as well? And for anyone who says a Marketing Manager is more important than a receptionist, I ask if you could manage a busy switchboard or how you view companies you call where the receptionist doesn’t do a good job.

So, while I prefer to not use capitals for titles, if you do capitalise titles please be sure to capitalise them all.

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