Here’s What You Should—and Shouldn’t—Capitalize on a Resume (2022)

As a career coach, I’ve worked alongside recruiters and heard their complaints as they review resumes. I remember one squinting at the screen as she tried to read a resume with tiny font, and another telling me she doesn’t even consider a candidate if she sees typos in a resume or cover letter.

And I’ve reviewed thousands of resumes myself over the years and seen clients make large and small mistakes that can hurt their chances at landing an interview. One thing I frequently notice and fix while editing resumes is words that are capitalized even though they really should be lowercase. For example, I’ll see clients share names of departments they’ve collaborated with or various job titles within their resume bullets, all capitalized. It’s just not necessary! Sometimes candidates are trying to indicate that something is important or they simply don’t know the rules around capitalization on a resume. But they don’t need nearly as many capital letters on their resumes as they think—and neither do you.

Does it really matter if you go overboard with all those capital letters? Yes! Recruiters and hiring managers look for consistency and attention to details as they review resumes. You can show them that you are detail oriented by finding and fixing these types of capitalization mistakes on your resume.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to capitalization on your resume to help you figure out what to do about...

Bullets

The first word of a bullet or sentence should always be capitalized. This might seem obvious, but don’t overlook it! Starting a sentence with a lowercase letter looks unprofessional.

Proper Nouns and Formal Names

These are nouns that represent a specific person, place, or thing and should be capitalized. This is important! Proper nouns and names account for most of the capitalization on your resume. For example:

  • George Washington
  • Fifth Avenue
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Europe
  • Swahili

Company Names and Software Tools

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As proper nouns, the names of companies and software tools typically get a capital letter, unless they’re written in all lowercase letters or all caps by the company itself. Usually, companies only use this kind of unorthodox styling for logos, but occasionally it carries over into regular text.

Do you use Microsoft Excel? Adobe Photoshop? Make sure they’re capitalized, whether they appear within a bullet or are listed in a skills section. I always look up the name of a software program to see how the company writes it, and then follow that. Make sure you also pay attention to caps in the middle of a name, or lowercase letters at the start, like:

  • JavaScript
  • iPhone

Cities and States

Always capitalize cities and states when you list your location in your contact info and the location of a company or school. Make sure to also abbreviate states. For company info, for example, you might write:

Acme Industries | Seattle, WA

Roles, Departments, and Teams

These should be lowercase in most places on your resume, including within your resume summary (if you’re using one) as well as your bullets or other descriptions of work experience, education, volunteer work, and more. So you’d write:

  • Scheduled social media content as a marketing coordinator with Acme Industries.

The only exceptions are when you name your role at the start of a job entry and if you’re putting a title at the top as a resume headline. For example:

Acme Industries, Marketing Coordinator (January 2014–July 2017)

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The same goes for departments and teams. If you’re listing out departments you worked with, you don’t need to capitalize those. That’s probably one of the things I fix most frequently. So you’d write:

  • Collaborated with engineering, marketing, and sales to make product improvements that incorporated customer feedback.

Rather than:

  • Collaborated with Engineering, Marketing, and Sales to make product improvements that incorporated customer feedback.

General Industry Sectors

Do you work in the pharmaceutical industry? Keep it lowercase when you’re writing about industry experience. So at the start of a resume summary, you might say:

Project manager with experience in the pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology industries.

Rather than:

Project manager with experience in the Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, and Biotechnology industries.

Time Words

Seasons are not proper nouns so they should not be capitalized unless they are at the beginning of a sentence or you’re listing a season as your dates of employment (e.g., for an internship). But you should always capitalize days of the week and months, since they’re proper nouns.

Here are two ways to list dates of employment at the top of a job or internship entry:

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September 2019–present

Summer 2020

But if you’re referencing a project you completed in the spring of 2021, resist the temptation to write “Spring 2021.”

  • Completed a major software implementation over the course of spring 2021.

Education and Institutions

Always capitalize the name of a university or learning institution. For example, no matter where on your resume you mention it, you’d capitalize the first letter of each word in, say, Harvard University, Michigan State University, or University of California, Irvine.

But if you’re using the word “university” in a sentence by itself, it shouldn’t be capitalized. For example:

  • Oversaw outreach to 30+ university partners to build a robust internship program.

Degrees and Fields

At the start of your education entries, capitalize the degree you earned (e.g., Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science). But like the name of a role, you don’t need to capitalize degrees if you’re mentioning them within a bullet or elsewhere (e.g., bachelor’s degree). You can also always use the abbreviated version, which gets the appropriate capital letters no matter where it appears (e.g., MA, JD, PhD).

Similar rules apply to subjects and fields as to roles and degrees: When listing your education entries, you should capitalize the subject or field you studied. Here are a couple of examples:

New York University
MA, English Literature

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University of Texas
Bachelor of Science, Sociology

However, if you choose to list completed coursework with your degree or otherwise mention subjects you studied or researched, the fields wouldn’t be capitalized—unless they include a proper noun or name of a language or country:

  • Completed coursework in comparative literature, American studies, French,and history.

Initialisms and Acronyms

If you use an initialism (pronounced as letters) or acronym (pronounced as a word), make sure you spell it out first, and then add the shortened version in all caps in parentheses to ensure you get through an applicant tracking system (ATS). Here are a couple of examples:

  • Acted as subject matter expert (SME) in a complex software implementation.
  • Used search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve website visibility and increase traffic to the site.

Even if an initialism or acronym is widely recognized—most people would immediately know what NASA refers to, for instance—there’s still a chance an ATS won’t recognize it. Spell it out first and then you can use the abbreviation from then on.

All Caps

The only other times I’d suggest using all caps on a resume, besides abbreviations, is for your name at the very top of the page and for section headings. It’s a personal preference, but I like the look and it helps those sections stand out. For example, you might make your section headings:

EXPERIENCE vs. Experience

EDUCATION vs. Education

SKILLS vs. Skills

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You can see what this would look like in practice on this sample executive assistant resume and this sample teaching resume.

Grammatical errors and small inconsistencies can be deal breakers for some resume reviewers. Over-capitalization might not be the biggest offender, but let’s make sure it doesn’t exclude you from being considered for potential jobs.

Updated 9/23/2021

FAQs

What should be capitalized in a resume? ›

Make sure to capitalize the first word of each sentence and each bullet point in your resume. Also capitalize proper nouns, like company names, places, and schools.

Is it okay to capitalize on resume? ›

For example, no matter where on your resume you mention it, you'd capitalize the first letter of each word in, say, Harvard University, Michigan State University, or University of California, Irvine. But if you're using the word “university” in a sentence by itself, it shouldn't be capitalized.

What should we capitalize and what shouldn't we capitalize? ›

In general, you should capitalize the first word, all nouns, all verbs (even short ones, like is), all adjectives, and all proper nouns. That means you should lowercase articles, conjunctions, and prepositions—however, some style guides say to capitalize conjunctions and prepositions that are longer than five letters.

What you should and should not put on a resume? ›

Leave off details such as height, weight, birth date, age, sex, religion, political affiliation, or place of birth. Employers shouldn't make employment decisions based on these factors, and they may resent the fact that you are tempting them to do so. Keep your resume focused on the facts.

Should I capitalize a job title? ›

Rule: Capitalize job titles immediately preceding the name when used as part of the name. Example: We asked Chairperson Leong to join us at the meeting. Rule: Titles immediately following the name do not ordinarily require capitalization.

What is the best font for a resume? ›

The best fonts for your resume
  • Arial. This sans-serif font is often used for branding and website or mobile design, which makes it a great option if you're in the creative field or are applying to a marketing job. ...
  • Georgia. ...
  • Helvetica. ...
  • Tahoma. ...
  • Times New Roman. ...
  • Trebuchet MS. ...
  • Verdana.
15 Sept 2021

Do you capitalize email address on resume? ›

If you happen to capitalize your email address, or your autocorrect simply messes up, fear not. You will be fine! Unlike passwords, email addresses are not case sensitive. Whether or not you add capitals, your email server will read it the same way as long as the numbers and letters match your official email address.

Is management capitalized? ›

If you don't have a specific legal definition of Management spelled out elsewhere in the document, I would advise you not to capitalize the word. Another consideration is balance: If If you adopt the style of capitalizing Management, it would seem appropriate to capitalize (and carefully define) Employees, as well.

Should manager be capitalized? ›

Don't capitalize job titles like manager, director, and chairman when used descriptively with someone's name instead of as a title that is part of the name. In other words, don't capitalize job titles used in apposition. (An appositive is a noun that appears beside another noun and describes it.)

What three words should be capitalized? ›

There are three main types of words that need to be capitalized: (1) the first word of a sentence, (2) titles of books and other works, and (3) proper nouns and adjectives.

What is the example of capitalization? ›

For example: I like English, but math is my favorite subject. ("English" is capitalized because it is derived from the proper noun England, while "math" is not capitalized because it is not derived from a proper noun.) Specific course titles should, however, be capitalized.

What are the common mistakes of a resume? ›

Common resume mistakes and how to avoid them
  • Including a resume objective instead of a professional profile.
  • Unrelated work experience.
  • Not providing enough detail.
  • No references or too many references.
  • Irrelevant skills to the job role.
  • Using the same resume for all your applications.
  • Outdated or missing contact information.

What skills should you not put on a resume? ›

Five skills you shouldn't include in your resume skills section
  • Basic computer skills. ...
  • Languages you are not fluent in. ...
  • Irrelevant skills. ...
  • Skills you don't possess. ...
  • Generalized skills.

What do employers look for in a resume? ›

That means featuring the most important and relevant information first and removing irrelevant or outdated information, such as jobs you held 15+ years ago. Be sure to include your name and contact information at the top, a resume summary, your work experience, skills and education.

What is the rule for capitalizing job titles? ›

In general, titles that come before names are capitalized, and titles that come after names are lowercase. The thing you have to figure out is whether the word is part of an official title (in which case it is capitalized) or just describing someone's role (in which case it is lowercase).

What words are not capitalized in titles? ›

Capitalize the first and the last word. Capitalize nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions. Lowercase articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions. Lowercase the 'to' in an infinitive (I want to play guitar).

What words should always be capitalized in titles? ›

According to most style guides, nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are capitalized in titles of books, articles, and songs. You'd also capitalize the first word and (according to most guides) the last word of a title, regardless of what part of speech they are. Be the best writer in the office.

What font should a resume be in 2022? ›

Use Times New Roman or Arial — two of the most common, straightforward fonts available — to show hiring managers your hard skills. Show your blue-collar skills with no-nonsense fonts like Times New Roman and Arial.

What font looks most professional? ›

Recommended serif fonts include Cambria, Georgia, and Times New Roman. Sans serif fonts don't have small strokes attached to their letters, giving them a cleaner and more modern style. Some recommended sans serif fonts include Arial, Calibri, and Verdana.

What font is most pleasing to the eye? ›

Best fonts for reading
  • Times New Roman. For many, Times New Roman has become the default font for print and web documents. ...
  • Verdana. ...
  • Arial. ...
  • Tahoma. ...
  • Helvetica. ...
  • Calibri. ...
  • Verdana. ...
  • Lucida Sans (PC) or Lucida Grande (Mac)

Should my email be hyperlinked on my resume? ›

You can hyperlink your email address if you want to make it easy for someone to contact you. While it's not necessary to include the "mailto:" link, it can make it easier for potential employers who want to reach out.

When writing to whom it may concern what is capitalized? ›

Here's a tip: Always format “To Whom It May Concern” with a capital letter at the beginning of each word.

Do capital letters matter in Gmail? ›

Gmail addresses are not case sensitive, meaning the email service doesn't distinguish between versions of the address with or without capitalized letters, so long as the spelling is the same.

Is Covid capitalized? ›

coronavirus, COVID-19

The disease: The name of the disease is COVID-19. COVID-19 is capitalized because it is an acronym for COronaVIrus Disease, and it was first detected in 2019.

Do you capitalize the name of a degree? ›

Academic degrees are capitalized only when the full name of the degree is used, such as Bachelor of Arts or Master of Engineering. General references, such as bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree, are not capitalized.

Do you capitalize President and CEO? ›

President follows the same capitalization rules as other titles. A title is the name that describes a person's position, rank, office, or job. In general, you should only capitalize titles when they come directly before a person's name, as in Professor Charles Xavier or Editor-in-Chief Miranda Priestly.

Is HR capitalized? ›

When you are listing your job experience on your resume, the titles should be capitalized. Although, if you are not speaking about a specific role, but generic titles they should not be capitalized. – Example: Human Resources Director at X-Company from January 2000 to January 2015.

Is master's degree capitalized? ›

In text, academic degrees when used in a general sense are not capitalized. (That campus offers bachelor's and master's degrees.) You can also use "bachelor's" and "master's" on its own, but do not capitalize. (Example: She said she hoped to earn her master's by next spring.)

Do you capitalize team names at work? ›

When people form a group and give it a name, it should be capitalized. Capitalize names of organizations, institutions, stores, businesses, teams, political parties, and government bodies.

Why do people capitalize every word? ›

Capital letters are useful signals for a reader. They have three main purposes: to let the reader know a sentence is beginning, to show important words in a title, and to signal proper names and official titles. 1. Capitals signal the start of a new sentence.

What are the five uses of capital letters? ›

When to Use Capital Letters
  • Rule 2: Titles. In titles, capitalise only the important words, not minor words such as 'and' and 'but'. ...
  • Rule 3: For Proper Nouns. ...
  • Rule 4: Acronyms. ...
  • Rule 5: Contractions. ...
  • Rule 6: Overusing Capitals is Rude.

Do you always capitalize doctor? ›

Professional and family titles

A title for a person can be based on someone's job like the word doctor or a family relationship like the word aunt. The first letter of a title should be capitalized if the title is used as part of someone's name. For example, doctor is capitalized if you call someone Doctor Green.

What assets should be capitalized? ›

The cost of fixed assets, such as computers, cars, and office buildings, are recorded on the general ledger as the historical cost of the asset and not expensed in full against earnings in the current accounting period. These costs are said to be capitalized, not expensed.

Do you capitalize names of documents? ›

Capitalize the names of specific historical events, times, and documents.

Which nouns should be capitalized? ›

Proper nouns refer to a specific person, place, or thing and are always capitalized. Common nouns refer to a general concept or thing and are only capitalized at the beginning of a sentence.

When should the word be capitalized? ›

Do not capitalize an article (a, an, the) unless it is first or last in the title. Do not capitalize a coordinating conjunction (and, or, nor, but, for, yet, so) unless it is first or last in the title.

What is the purpose of capitalization? ›

Capitalization is important in writing to show readers the importance of specific words and to indicate change in meanings. The first rule is to always capitalize proper nouns, which are the names of specific nouns.

Which sentence is written and capitalized correctly? ›

The sentence (b) is written and capitalized correctly.

A sentence must start with a capital letter and end with a full-stop. There is no word in the English dictionary called 'gotta'. It is an incorrect word to be used in a sentence. The correct form is "got to be", meaning, ought to do something.

Do you capitalize email address on resume? ›

If you happen to capitalize your email address, or your autocorrect simply messes up, fear not. You will be fine! Unlike passwords, email addresses are not case sensitive. Whether or not you add capitals, your email server will read it the same way as long as the numbers and letters match your official email address.

Do you capitalize department names in resume? ›

Names of departments are capitalized only when using the full formal name, or when the department name is the proper name of a nationality, people, or race. Do not abbreviate to "dept." Capitalize as part of a full official name; lowercase otherwise.

Do you capitalize your degree in a cover letter? ›

Academic degrees are capitalized only when the full name of the degree is used, such as Bachelor of Arts or Master of Engineering. General references, such as bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree, are not capitalized.

Do you capitalize your major? ›

Lowercase all majors except those containing proper nouns. (His major is English; her major is engineering. Sue is majoring in Asian studies.) General subjects are lowercase (algebra, chemistry), but the names of specific courses are capitalized (Algebra I, Introduction to Sociology).

Should my email be hyperlinked on my resume? ›

You can hyperlink your email address if you want to make it easy for someone to contact you. While it's not necessary to include the "mailto:" link, it can make it easier for potential employers who want to reach out.

Do capital letters matter in Gmail? ›

Gmail addresses are not case sensitive, meaning the email service doesn't distinguish between versions of the address with or without capitalized letters, so long as the spelling is the same.

Why should you not type in all caps when writing an email? ›

Do not use ALL capital letters to emphasize or highlight your message. This is considered to be rude, and can be interpreted as shouting at someone in terms of email etiquette. Use diplomatic language.

Should manager be capitalized? ›

Don't capitalize job titles like manager, director, and chairman when used descriptively with someone's name instead of as a title that is part of the name. In other words, don't capitalize job titles used in apposition. (An appositive is a noun that appears beside another noun and describes it.)

Is management capitalized? ›

If you don't have a specific legal definition of Management spelled out elsewhere in the document, I would advise you not to capitalize the word. Another consideration is balance: If If you adopt the style of capitalizing Management, it would seem appropriate to capitalize (and carefully define) Employees, as well.

Do you capitalize team names at work? ›

When people form a group and give it a name, it should be capitalized. Capitalize names of organizations, institutions, stores, businesses, teams, political parties, and government bodies.

What three words should be capitalized? ›

There are three main types of words that need to be capitalized: (1) the first word of a sentence, (2) titles of books and other works, and (3) proper nouns and adjectives.

How many pages should a resume be? ›

Most resumes should be two pages long. Two pages are the standard length in 2021 to fit all your keywords, work history, experience, and skills on your resume. Here are some situations that indicate you should use a two-page resume: You are not an entry-level candidate.

What words should always be capitalized in titles? ›

According to most style guides, nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are capitalized in titles of books, articles, and songs. You'd also capitalize the first word and (according to most guides) the last word of a title, regardless of what part of speech they are. Be the best writer in the office.

Is it masters or Master's? ›

The correct way to spell master's degree is with the apostrophe. The s in master's indicates a possessive (the degree of a master), not a plural. If you're speaking of a specific degree, you should capitalize master and avoid creating a possessive: Master of Science. The same rules apply to a bachelor's degree.

What is the proper way to write your degree? ›

Academic degrees are capitalized only when the full name of the degree is used, such as Bachelor of Arts or Master of Social Work. General references, such as bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree, are not capitalized. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in 2008. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication in 2008.

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