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Written by Kieran Proctor

Should You Cover Your Tattoos At Work?



man with tattoos in a suit

Whether or not you should cover your tattoos at work will depend on the type of job you have. With that said there is one constant rule I follow across all job types. Which is that I will always cover my tattoos until I have secured the role I’m interviewing for.

It’s much harder for an employer to fire you for having tattoos than it is to decline you at the interview stage. Once they’ve hired you they’ve invested time and money into your recruitment. So hide your tattoos until you’re hired.

Here’s how to decide if you should keep your tattoos covered at work.

Cover your Tattoos At Work For First Impressions

First impressions matter whether you have tattoos or not. In the first seven (7) seconds people you meet for the first time will form an impression or image of you. They’ll construct an idea of who they think you are as a person.

First impressions are hard to change or undo. And as somebody with tattoos you can use first impressions to your advantage.

If you’re well dressed, your tattoos are covered and you’re well spoken the first impressions people form about you will be overwhelmingly positive. And then those first impressions are hard to shake.

After forming positive first impressions of you, your colleagues could find you swinging from the ceiling fan in your underpants singing karaoke death metal. And a large portion of the people with positive first impressions, won’t be able to shake their positive view of you.

Always cover your tattoos when meeting colleagues for the first time. Once they have a positive view of you, it matters much less if you have tattoos or not.

Skull Paracord Keychain - Tattoo Vagabond

Cover your tattoos at Job Interviews For Good First Impressions

Interviews are places where important first impressions are formed. You should always cover your tattoos for job interviews.

Anything that can be used as a point of contention in choosing between you and another equally qualified candidate should be hidden.

Imagine that you and another person are going for the same job. You both have the same skills and experience. But you have visible tattoos and the other person does not. That can be used as a reason to hire the other guy. So always cover your tattoos at job interviews.

Once they’ve hired you and notified the other candidate that they were unsuccessful it’s much harder for them to fire you for having tattoos. By this point they’ve invested time and money into hiring you.

And after the recruitment stage your employer and colleagues will already have a positive first impression of you. So there’s less need to cover your tattoos.

Skeleton USB 2.0 Flash drive - Tattoo Vagabond

Covering Your Tattoos At Work Depends On Your Career

Covering your tattoos at work depends on your career path and the role you’ve chosen. Professional and corporate roles will be more strick on the appearance of their staff. Whereas employers for blue collar jobs are more likely to have a laid back attitude when it comes to visible tattoos at work.

You need to look at if there is a dress code or uniform for your chosen career. If there is a dress code or uniform it’s more likely that you will need to cover your tattoos at work.

If you’re in a customer facing role it’s also more likely that you will need to cover your tattoos at work. Workers who interact with customers in the course of their employment need to appeal to all sectors of society. And this includes all the ‘Karens’ that society may send their way.

Now I need to make a disclaimer here. I don’t agree that you should need to cover your tattoos. And you may also disagree with any corporate decision handed down that states you need to cover your tattoos at work.

But at the end of the day the role is what you personally chose. And the career path you may be on is of your own making. If you’re in a role that requires you to cover your tattoos and you want a job that allows you to have visible tattoos, up-skill or cross skill into a new industry.

Once you have the skills necessary to apply for a role in an industry where you can have visible tattoos you should apply for that role. And when you get a new role that allows you to show off your ink at work you can then quit your current job.

But only once you have another role should you tell your employer what you think about their policy of covering tattoos at work. Because most employers will find it difficult to fire you for your tattoos.

But they will find it easy to fire you for not adhering to corporate dress codes. Or for disagreeing with management.

man with tattoos in a suit

Choosing a Career Path That Allows for visible tattoos

Most youngsters don’t think about their career paths when choosing university degrees or blue collar training. But every role you accept in life will contribute to the experience you acquire and will help to shape and define your next role.

Before randomly applying for roles or university degrees, it’s advisable to sit down and decide on what types of conditions you want in your end role. That is to say, the job that you want to have when you get to the end of your career path.

Do you want the freedom to work remotely or do you want to work in an office with colleagues? Do you want to work in your own country or overseas? Are you seeking customer facing roles or do you want to work in the background unseen by the general public?

And these are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself early on. Before making life altering decisions.

Sure, you may want money and freedom, but every senior role has that. Instead, stop and think about where you are in life and where (including where in the world) you want to be. And then look for skills, roles and experiences that move you in that direction.

But for the love of all things, don’t get tattoos on your hands, neck or face until you know where you want to be a decade from now. And until you’ve developed the experiences that put you on the path to where you want to be.

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