Keeping Up Appearances

Tattoos. They are a divisive topic for some. To us old fogeys, it seems that every second young person (quite oblivious to the irony) is declaring their individuality by getting a tattoo.

As long as I can’t see it, then it makes no difference to me whether you have a tattoo or not. But the moment that the tattoo is visible, it can become a problem.

Consider these issues:

* Your visible tattoo is making a public statement. That was why you got it in the first place. It declares a message to the world, and it challenges the world to make a judgement about you. But you have no control over what that judgement that will be.
* It doesn’t matter what you intend from the tattoo. It doesn’t matter what you think of it, whether you like it or not. The viewer will form their own opinion.
* And of course, that tattoo is basically permanent. A moment’s whim might end up being a lifetime’s mistake.

When it comes to recruitment, the key issue is that during the early ‘winnowing’ processes, the employer is not looking to INCLUDE candidates. He or she is looking for reasons to EXCLUDE candidates, to get down to a shortlist. For many potential employers, your tattoo could easily be the reason to exclude you.

The key thing is that you don’t need to agree with us fogeys. You might love tatoos, and there may well be some (rare) employers who love them too, even in a professional context (not trades or hospitality).

But I can guarantee you this. There will be not one single employer recruiting a professional role in Australia who will employ you BECAUSE you have a visible tattoo. There will be some who don’t care, and there are a significant proportion of employers who WONT employ you because of it.

And I note that it is legal in Australia to discriminate against a person for having a tattoo, with some exceptions for cultural/racial markings.

So your visible tattoo definitely won’t help you, and it could very easily hinder your job search. And that’s worth thinking about.

The following article presents another discussion of the topic.…/tattoos-in-the-workplace-big…/