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The Lounge
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I may not look like the typical person who has a lot of office work experience... but I do. I have worked for 2 progressive companies that were business casual attire offices and had no problems with the fact that I have visible tattoos... but they were in cities.

I now find myself living in a fairly small town until the end of the spring and looking for work. I am going through a staffing agency and they are sending my information to two places today, one is an office manager position for a construction company, the other is a night manager (3-11) at a store in town. Obviously these are nothing like the law office or insurance company that I have previously worked for... and I am really confused on how to dress for my interviews (if I get one)!

One one hand I would hate to cover my tattoos and have them one day be a surprise, that always makes me feel a little dishonest, but on the other, in these situations I want to be seen as my resume and my personality, not my tattoos.

I can't wait until I finish school, my field I'll be going in to is creative and none of this will matter!

16 Replies (last)

Typically, whether you have tattoos won't matter, however, if you are going to be seen by customers they will probably require you to have them covered when you are at work anyway.  But definitely for the interview, cover them and when you are offered the job ask them their policy on visible tattoos.  Then, if they tell you to cover them but you don't want to, you can always turn the position down.  Doing it this way allows you to interview without it being about the tattoos, but shows your responsibility about handling it.

Good luck with your interview(s)!

You only get one chance to make a first impression.  In an interview your supposed to let the employer see your strengths and what you can do for them.  Cover up the tatoos and then once you have the job see how they feel. 

I have a tatoo on the back of my neck and I always wear my hair down when I meet clients for the first time.  
The biggest problem with covering them is that that would mean long pants, long sleeves, and thick tights or socks of some kind (my left foot has a large tattoo on top) and it's around 68-78 degrees lately here in Texas!
I work in HR as a recruiter and have for some time. I am also covered in tattoos! Like kp, I have one on the back of my neck. It's always covered at initial meetings. Unless they are all over your hands and face, I wouldn't be concerned.

Dress conservatively, cover them up and go to the interview. If they like you and hire you, chances are they won't even care about the tattoos down the road. There is nothing dishonest about it, please don't think this way. I mean I burp and fart but I'm not going to let one rip during an interview because I don't want to be dishonest!
I don't think the construction company should take too much issue with your tattoos being in the open. so long as they couldn't be concidered "offensive"...I'm sure for the  the retail position it will depend on what type of store it is whether or not your ink becomes an issue.

I was in a similar situation, until a few months ago I was working through a staffing agency as well. At first for a few short-term assignments, and then I was actually working in their office initially as administrative support and then as receptionist/admin assistant when the receptionist had to leave for medical reasons. When the lead admin was replaced, the new lead decided she wanted to fill the reception and admin support positions on a permanent basis - and not with me.

It took awhile, but the agency finally found a permanent placement for me, working as Staff Accountant in the Fixed Assets/ Corporate Accounting department of a regional grocery chain. I love what I do, the people I work with are great {for the most part} and HR has NO PROBLEM with my nostril studs, my gauged earlobe, my dreadlocks, or any of my tattoos....moral of the story?

...Hang in there, you'll find something that will be a great match eventually :) and in the meantime, hopefully the agency you're working with can find some short{er} term projects to fill in the gaps until you find something permanent.


*edit for typo*

Cover them.  I can't stress this enough.

Believe me...I have tattoos I cannot hide...knuckles and hands and soon to be neck, but if I had to go in for an interview, I'd put makeup on them (dermablend I think it's called).  My portfolio stands on its own and companies I've contracted for usually will overpower the huge earlobes and facial piercings, but I find people cringe with the tattoos.  I haven't lost work because of them, but I'm fairly cautious.  I'm able to say I did spaceplanning work for large well known government corporations and I would still hide my tattoos when interviewing for a job.

So...I guess it depends on how bad you want the job?  Good luck!  With whatever you decide I hope it turns out the way you want. :) 

I'm hoping for the construction one, because it would be just me all by myself taking care of all of their office needs. I did this for the law firm I worked for and loved it. There were other employees in that office, but all paralegals, legal assistants, etc... nothing to do with me.

Oops, I completely forgot about my teeny tiny nose ring, I've had it so long I forget it's there!

Really the biggest thing I have working against me is that this is a very conservative, religious, Republican place. The type of town where I get stares in the grocery store when I'm not in long sleeves, and my husband (full sleeve, working on the other arm, gauged ears, and a rat tail) even got harrassed by an old man in the pharmacy!

Actually, I worked at Staples for quite a while and then I got my tattoos which are on my wrists. They're small stars on the inside of each wrist and are just the outlines so they aren't extremely colorful. However, they made me either wear bandaids (it looked like I tried killing myself) or thick wrist bands to cover them up. The same thing happened at PetSmart when I worked there for a few months. I got an interview for a computer technician job and they loved my tattoos. I just thought it was funny that the higher up in jobs and the pay scale I got, the less my tattoos were a problem.
Ugh, band aids and wrist bands look 100x worse than little tattoos! That's just silly

I always cover my tattoos and remove piercings [save the 00g lobes] before any interview, no matter what!

The tattoo behind my left ear is easily covered by hair, left inner elbow by 3/4 sleeves, left inner wrist by a watch, left inner ankle by a skin-toned bandage under hose [or slacks if it's cold out], and the two on my back are, of course, hidden. The tattoo on my right arm presents a problem, though. I have to wear wrist-length sleeves to cover that, which really sucks in the summer. Fortunately it's chilly enough here in Richmond this time of year to not look suspicious in long sleeves!

Usually for an initial interview I make sure everything is completely covered, then on call-backs I may wear a 3/4 length sleeve shirt and mention that I have a few tattoos, but would be willing to cover them if it presented a problem. I have never been told that it would be a problem, but then again in many cases, someone else has been chosen over me. Well, I never told Dr. Spier about my tattoos because he already hated me and probably wouldn't let me expose them, anyway. He probably just thought I was a weirdo in long sleeves year round.

I would read through the company's policy handbook after being offered a job, and if there is nothing mentioning tattoos or piercings, maybe ask HR or just bare the ones on your foot and leg first, then if nobody says anything, maybe a little of your arms, but have a cardigan handy in the event that you're asked to cover it up.

And, as brandy_m_gray said, you can ultimately turn down a position that is not comfortable with your tattoos, but then again I realize that you will only be working in Texas for a few months until you move back up north!


For the interview I would definitely cover the tattoos.  I live in Texas too and most all buildings/offices are air conditioned during the warm weather "beyond" comfort levels!  I'd have to wear light long sleeves at least just not to freeze.

I too live in a small town but haven't noticed stares or anything like that....lot's of the cashiers and managers I've noticed  are tattooed....cover them up, and if you get offered the job I still wouldn't mention the tattoos right away, once you've proven yourself at your new position just use common sense and reasonalbe attire.  The construction job shouldn't be an issue as you mentioned...good luck!

Original Post by disease_of_ease:

I can't wait until I finish school, my field I'll be going in to is creative and none of this will matter!

 Funny, I just finished getting $40,000 in debt to get my creative (graphic design) degree from college and it has been extremely hard and frustrating that I have not found a job in my field in the 8 months since graduation. I have sometimes thought that maybe I don't look cool enough and that if I had tattoos I might get hired. 

I always cover mine for initial interviews. Like others have said, it's rare for them to hire you and then change their minds later. My fiance is a graphic designer and he wore a button up shirt to his interview but the first day he rolled up his sleeves the CEO stuttered for a few minutes to get a hold of himself but no one has ever said anything outright. 

i would cover them, better to make a good first impression and then later mention them. 

good luck in the interviews! 

Even though tattoos are an expression of who you are, it's a drag when they keep you from having the career you want. I know it feels like you're not being 'yourself' but you definitely want to cover those babies up when going for an interview. You know, that whole first impression thing. has a kit that works great, covers them and stays put.

Good luck with the interview!

I've got three tattoos, though they're all in places that are covered up by workplace attire..

I'd say cover them up at your initial interview, and then after you've been offered the job ask about their tattoo policy.

EDIT: Wow, I didn't see the original date on this post. It's so old!

16 Replies