At the University of Nevada, Reno, like at many schools across the country today, it is not uncommon to spot students with various types of body art. From a flirty wrist tattoo to a full sleeve scene, students here on this west coast campus display individuality and character through tattoos. The City of Reno has so many tattoo parlors in fact that the mayor recently put a moratorium on them, insisting they give the city a misleading image.
The facts are there, according to a recent Pew Research Study, four in ten people ages 18-29 have at least one tattoo (I have seven). This form of body art — once seemingly reserved for military personnel, gangsters and hardcore kids — has recently made its way onto the bodies of many educated professionals. Has this surge in body art become acceptable, however, in the eyes of employers? Read: Will your cute ear tattoo cost you a job once you graduate?
Well, the truth is, it depends. If you are planning on entering a creative field such as design, art, film, music, etc. then chances are you should be good to go. For the rest of us, however, there are a few guidelines that should be considered before taking the tattoo plunge:
If you plan on working in business, government, education, law or any similar industry, you should be certain that you can cover up your tattoos with normal business attire. For men, the arms, back and chest are usually always covered in the board room, so those areas are definitely available for tattooing; ladies may want to think twice about how many long sleeve shirts they want to wear throughout the year. Women should also keep in mind that the lower legs, ankles and feet are sometimes exposed and should make decisions accordingly. This leaves any tattoo in visible areas out of the question, namely the hands, neck and face. Getting any of these areas tattooed is going to make life more difficult for anyone who seeks a career outside of the creative fields.
Ok, so you disregarded rule number one and got that trendy mustache tattoo on your index finger. That’s not so bad, but getting a large tattoo in one of the aforementioned visible areas is not so good, such as writing on your knuckles or roses on your neck. A small but tasteful tattoo behind your ear or between your fingers, however, will cause only minimal harm when looking for a job. Too many little tattoos on your ears, neck and fingers, however, may not be a great idea.
Regardless of how hidden your tattoos are while on you are the clock, chances are that at some point your co-workers and/or boss will see them — not to mention your future spouse and children. With this in mind, the content of your body art is just as important as its location and size. Tattoos that are offensive, vulgar or discriminatory in nature are generally deemed inappropriate to even to the most liberal of employers. Body art that is immature or dated will likely embarrass you in the future. Foresight can be your friend.
Those are my general guidelines for college students seeking a serious career after graduation, who also want to enjoy tattoos. As always, each employer will vary from conservative to liberal when it comes to their tolerance for body art, so a good rule is to keep all of your ink covered at your interviews and even during your first few weeks on the job until you get a sense for the culture at your workplace. Remember that tattoos are a timeless and artistic way to express yourself and should not keep you from landing your dream job. And always remember: Ink responsibly.
Do you have a tattoo or two? Do you ever worry it will keep you from getting the job you want? Let us know in the comments.
Powered by Facebook Comments