Will Showing My Tattoos Harm My Chances at a Job?

John Krautzel
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Tattoos are becoming more and more acceptable in the professional realm, especially at trendier workplaces. However, you should still cover up visible tattoos during an interview to ensure your appearance is as professional as possible. Here are the ins and outs about why you should hide your ink, even if your tattoos are completely tasteful.

Do Employers Care About Tattoos?

In the United States, tattoos have become commonplace, as around 40 percent of people ages 18 to 29 have been inked, according to Business Insider. On the other hand, 40 percent of HR managers still list tattoos as one of the top-three physical features that can hinder someone's career. Millennials may love their tattoos, but keep in mind that many hiring managers are typically older and more conservative. For example, 63 percent of HR managers over age 60 find ink inappropriate. While only 22 percent of managers age 25 and under feel the same, flashing visible tattoos is still a major interview risk if one in five millennial HR managers finds them inappropriate.

The Risks of Showing Your Ink

Even the most non-offensive flower tattoo on the shoulder can still be distracting, and during an interview, you want the focus to be on your experience and skills rather than your body art. Plus, even self-professed progressive interviewers may still judge you unconsciously for your visible tattoos.

Who Needs to Worry About Covering Up Tattoos?

Hiding visible tattoos is especially crucial when interviewing for more professional industries, such as banks and law firms, as well as for management positions or any jobs in which the utmost professionalism is expected. Visible ink is also risky if you're interviewing for a position that requires you to directly interact with clients. Unfortunately, women with ink tend to be the subject of more bias than men, so they should be especially careful to cover up tattoos to boost their chances of getting the job. Tattooed applicants might receive a bit more slack in the tech industry or other creative industries that take a more liberal approach to the workplace.

How to Hide Your Tattoos

Long sleeves, shirts with high necklines, Band-aids, chunky jewelry and a neutral-colored scarf can go a long way in concealing visible tattoos. If you're preparing for a summer interview, choose linen and other cool fabrics to keep perspiration at bay. For tattoos that can't be hidden with the aforementioned options, ask your tattoo artist about tattoo concealer that's designed to blend with your skin while effectively covering dark inks.

Tattoos have definitely found their way into the modern workplace, but if you want to strengthen your odds of getting a job, it's best to play it safe by covering up tattoos during job interviews. Do you think bias against visible tattoos during an interview is unfair? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Photo courtesy of Rick Meyer at Flickr.com


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  • Robert T.
    Robert T.

    I have both arms sleeved ,I agree you should cover up, just to cover your butt.why take a chance.

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