How Tattoos Can Impact Your Job Search

In the motorcycle club where I am a member of, tattoos are pretty much common among male and female riders alike. While chest tattoos for men are quite popular, side tattoos for girls will never be left out. But aside from side tattoos, I also notice some girls having a tattoo on other parts of their body like on the arms, ankle and shoulder.

Among our riders, nobody discriminates against tattoos. I teach new riders with or without tattooes on how to ride their motorcycle. However, I also know that tattoos can possibly impact your job search as there are people or companies that discriminate against body markings.

In 2010, a Pew Research Poll showed that there are 23 percent of Americans who have tattoos. Tattoos are considered body art and an expression of a person’s individuality. However, during the time of our grandparents, tattoos were associated with gang members and convicts. Additionally, in 2008, a Harris poll conducted on 2,000 adults showed that 32 percent of respondents without tattoos believe that people with tattoos are likely to be involved in something deviant. That is about one-third of the total number of respondents. No wonder why many companies ban body arts in their dress code.

Additionally, a more recent survey conducted by showed that 31 percent of hiring managers admit that visible tattoos negatively impact their decision to hire an applicant. One reason for this is that most business owners are 50 years old or above and think that tattoos are for convicts and gangs. This is also true if you are applying for a position in a company with a conservative culture or if you are applying for a position that deals with people interaction since people expect you to look dignified like in the case of doctors, teachers and lawyers.

You may not believe it but it is true. Having a tattoo can impact your job search. You may think it is discriminatory, but it is not. And it really is strictly implemented in many work places. People may argue that their butterfly or flower tattoo will surely not offend anyone compared to a skull or dagger tattoo. But from the point of view of companies, being selective on an individual basis based on the tattoo design will just cause problems. Banning all tattoos is easier.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Hiring managers in creative fields like in theatre, advertising, design and computer development are generally more sympathetic about applicants sporting tattoos. They may even have tattoos themselves as well. In fact, they may even prefer applicants with tasteful tattoos because it is an expression of their being artistic. Aside from the creative field, some jobs where tattoos may be acceptable are those that do not require much public interaction or interface.

If you are applying for a job and already have a tattoo, just be ready to show that you can be a great asset for the company despite your body art. And if you don’t have a tattoo but are planning to, reconsider your decision and its implication on your job search. But regardless if you have or don’t have a tattoo, you are welcome to our riding club.


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