Are tattoos and piercings keeping you from your dream job? With the job market growing as competitive as ever, recruiters are following very strict guidelines to help them find the ideal candidate for their organization, and anything from a poorly laid out resume to a weak handshake could lead you all the way back to the unemployment line. Whether it was an idea you’ve been kicking around for years or a 3 a.m. spur of the moment decision you made after a night of bar hopping, that piece of metal or ink in your skin could easily hold you back from what could be a very lucrative career.
So does this mean people with tattoos and piercings, no matter how qualified they are on paper, are simply out of luck? Not necessarily, but it does leave them with some things to think about:
- Consider the career field your pursuing. Do your homework before your interview. Try to get a good read on both the company and its clients. If the culture is more conservative or if you’re interviewing for a client-facing role such as sales or customer service, it is in your best interests to take out the piercings and cover the tattoos. A good rule of thumb is that unless you are certain the company doesn’t care about piercings or tattoos, you should cover it up.
- Disclose that you have the tattoo. Assuming the tattoo is covered for your first interview, it’s a good idea to let the recruiter know you have one. This will show integrity and that you care about protecting the company’s image. Being up front will also tell you a lot about the company’s attitude toward tattoos, and help you determine if the position is a good fit for you.
- Don’t let piercings distract your interviewers. The recruiter will have a really hard time seeing just how great you are if he or she can’t stop staring at your septum ring. Try to think from the perspective of the interviewer and ask yourself “what will leave a lasting impression?” You want your potential employer to remember what a valuable asset you’d be for the company, not for that piece of metal sticking out of your face.
Simply put, it’s not about the tattoo or the piercing, it’s about how you go about them. Know your audience and always be honest.