Tattoos May Not Prevent You From Getting That Job

Job seeker?


If you have a tattoo and are currently seeking work, you might be worried that your ink is keeping you unemployed. But as Urkel used to say, “Don’t fret, my pet”: Apparently, employers are becoming more accepting of tattoos, mainly because they don’t have any other choice. According, many Americans have at least one tattoo, forcing hiring managers to “choose between rejecting inked employees or having a severely limited job candidate pool.”

MSNBC reports that over 45 million Americans are tattooed and the numbers increase as age decreases. Apparently body art isn’t just for members of the military, counter-culture, or gangs anymore. It seems, if the trend continues, the generation following ours will have to NOT get tattoos in order to rebel. Which means that I’m actually ahead of my time in terms of rebellion (Shhh, just let me have my small rebel moment).

Percentage of each generation with at least one tattoo (source: MSNBC):

* Baby Boomers: 15 percent
* Gen Xers: 32 percent
* Millennials: 38 percent

Now, let’s set some boundaries, because there are limits to what employers will tolerate. I’m guessing that if Mike Tyson walked into a job interview for a financial analyst position at PricewaterhouseCoopers with his half-face tribal tattoo, he probably wouldn’t be asked back for a second interview. But with tattooing becoming mainstream, employers are more likely to overlook the flower on your foot, the Chinese character on your wrist, and maybe even the barcode on the back of your neck. Maybe.

Of course, the relevance that an employer places on tattoos during the hiring process depends on a number of factors, including the type of work (customer-facing vs. behind the scenes), the industry (traditional vs. contemporary), and the size, placement, and symbolism of the tattoo in question.

If you have a tattoo, it’s still a good idea to find out what the company’s policies are about displaying your body art. Some might have a strict cover-it-up policy and others might be more lenient. This is something you can bring up further along in the interview process, or once they’ve actually offered you the job.

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