Before You Submit: Job Titles

Do you have a draft of your novel or short story and are thinking of submitting to an agent, publisher or writing contest? My series called Before You Submit might help. This series contains hints and tips I’ve received from professionals in the publishing industry. Each week I’ll share a new tip.

This week I’ll write about Capitalizing Job Titles.

Until a professional edited my work, I hadn’t thought about job titles and whether I should capitalize them or not.

An editor corrected a sentence by changing the first letter of a job title to lower case. Hmm? I used my handy Chicago Manual of Style to check the rule. It’s hard to know what to check if you don’t even know you should check something. This is where an editor comes in.

The rules for capitalizing job titles (and this is me summarizing so check a grammar manual for details):

If the job title is part of the name, then use a capital.

President Stanley likes grammar rules.

I decided I should be the president in this example 🙂

If ‘the’ is written before the job title or the job title follows the person’s name, then don’t use a capital.

Ms. Stanley, the president, likes grammar rules.

It’s not a hard rule. Job titles are sometimes capitalized for style or emphasis within an organization, and so we get used the look even though it’s incorrect. All I needed was an editor to point out my error, and I’ll never make it again. I can dream, can’t I?

I hope this helps improve your writing.

See Before You Submit:Likeable Characters for the first blog in this series and an introduction the benefits of submitting even if you get a rejection letter.

Thanks for reading . .



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