Your tattoo may have been a great idea at the time, showing your affection for someone, expressing yourself and your interests, or demonstrating your allegiance to a certain group. You may still feel strongly about that awesome tattoo, but it won’t do you much good if it keeps you from getting ahead in life. Unfortunately, society still has a stigma against ink, and even though more than one-third of adults aged 18-40 have tattoos, displaying them openly during your interview may reduce your opportunities. Most companies permit tattoos, but in this weak job market, you’re better off covering them up until you get the job offer.
First Impressions are Important
Your potential employer’s first opportunity to meet you is during the interview, and first impressions matter. A visible tattoo may distract from the real conversation about your qualifications for a job. Tattoos have different meanings for different people, and you have no idea how a recruiter will respond to yours. You run the risk of being remembered for the wrong reasons. While tattoos can be a great form of self-expression, they can also discourage potential employers who want to avoid inviting trouble into their workplace. Employers may make judgments about your reliability, maturity, and decision-making abilities.
Quick Cover-Ups Can Make the Difference
If you’re like most jobseekers, you may not have much money to throw around, so you need inexpensive, short-term solutions to hide your tattoos and get past the interview process. Once you get the job and prove your worth, you can open up more about yourself to your coworkers. Effective ways to cover up tattoos include make-up, long sleeves or having long hair. Even bandages would work if the tattoos are small enough. Just keep in mind that you may have to keep them covered for a while. You likely won’t get fired for having them, but you don’t want to give your employer any reason to hold them against you.
Permanent Removal May Pay Off
You may want to consider tattoo removals, which can provide permanent relief to your problem and prevent you from having to deal with it in the future. The most well-known options include dermabrasion, laser removal or Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy. In many cases, these require multiple visits and could cost thousands of dollars over time. The pain and the price tag may be worthwhile if removing the tattoos helps you break away from your past and focus on a more promising future.
Whatever your reasons for having a tattoo, finding and maintaining a job is more important. If you’re going to be in a customer-facing position, your options may be severely limited if your tattoos are visible. Think about the sacrifices you may have to make for your potential job before you go on your interview, and remember that first impressions count. The recruiter may not be concerned about you having a tattoo, but until your employer gets to know more about you, you’re better off giving him or her fewer reasons to question you.