Properly conceal tattoos and piercings


Brian Achenbach/Iowa State Daily

Be aware of a company’s tattoo policy before going to an interview. If possible, conceal your tattoos, especially any that may be offensive or inappropriate.

Sara Schlueter

Impressing potential employers and co-workers is becoming ever more important in today’s tight job market, where taking every chance you can get to snag a job is a high priority. Besides perfecting your resume and practicing your handshake, covering up tattoos and piercings is something to consider when looking to get into the working world.

A key concept to think about before getting inked is doing research and thinking of what career path your future could hold.

“We tell students that come in who would want a visible tattoo to ask people in your career industry the policies before you get a tattoo,” said Berry Schnetter, ISU graduate and current tattoo artist at Asylum Tattoo Parlor. “Police officers, lawyers and doctors are common fields where they won’t let you have visible tattoos.”

Although a bad tattoo mistake can be covered with makeup or clothing, going through a laser removal process can be extremely painful and costly.

“People really need to do their research and make sure that a tattoo is something that they really want,” Schnetter said. “Young kids sometimes don’t think about the implications.”

If you already have a tattoo and are in the process of researching companies to work for, finding their specific guidelines is helpful, especially in knowing how to cover up for an interview.

“There can be a variety of opinions on tattoos depending on where you work,” said Taren Crow, program coordinator in career services for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Places where you work in the business of gaining people’s trust, you may need to be on the conservative side when it comes to tattoos and piercings.”

Sara Roggemann, ISU graduate who now works as a technical services associate at Cargill Kitchen Solutions chose to get her tattoo on her ankle, in a spot that would not be visible in a work environment.

“At the time I got my tattoo, I worked for a company with a ‘no visible tattoos’ policy. I specifically got mine where I did so I wouldn’t have to worry about it,” Roggemann said. “I didn’t want my tattoo to be a concern for me in my professional life.”

If you are passionate about getting a tattoo, it may be advised to wait until you are well-established in your career, or to not get anything done below the wrist.

“We call it ‘job stoppers’ when people get something done on their knuckles,” Schnetter said. “Most people are pretty cautious to not get anything done below the wrist.”

In the ISU community, students are pretty willing to cover up their tattoos and piercings when attending career fairs or interviews.

“Students are very okay with taking out piercings and covering tattoos,” Crow said. “They do want to make sure they have every possible opportunity at a job and can make a good impression.”

Some fields that could have more lenient policies on tattoos and piercings include graphic design, athletics and fields in the art industry.

“Pay attention to when you are touring or talking to a business,” Crow said. “See how people are dressed and pay attention to the environment. Make connections, network and definitely look into the company’s policies and rules.”