Merging an alternative look with a professional career can be daunting, but it certainly isn’t impossible. As tattoos and piercings become more common, we are seeing more and more professionals with an alternative look in the workplace. As long as your tattoos can be covered with clothes, you are in the clear, but even if you have obvious tattoos or piercings that cannot be concealed, there is still hope! In fact, it is becoming more common to see people with government jobs sporting tattoos that can’t be covered up, a sure sign that times are changing. Even the spokesperson for Bank of America has stated that the company does not have any restrictions for their employees because diversity and inclusion are good for business. Luckily for those of us with alternative appearances, this is a point of view that is becoming more prevalent in the corporate world.
Having a tattoo has never been much of an issue in certain industries such as the military and many creative fields, but parents and teachers continue to warn kids that tattoos and piercings may affect future job opportunities. I remember being told that I wouldn’t be able to get a good job if I had tattoos, and that employers don’t want tattooed employees for positions that interface with customers. However, recent studies show that tattoos are becoming more commonplace, and more accepted. In 1999 a survey revealed that 21% of people were living in the same household as a person with a tattoo, and when polled again in 2014, the number had increased to 41%. This means it is less likely you will be judged harshly for having an alternative look today compared to twenty years ago. But even so, it is probably best to approach a new job with caution.
Keep in mind, you can sabotage yourself before you even get an interview. If your social media profiles are available for the public to see, you can bet that your employer will be looking. If you have posted or shared any content you wouldn’t want potential employers to see, such as obscene tattoos, then you should either delete the content from your social media pages, or make those posts private. This way, curious eyes won’t wander across something you’d like to keep amongst friends.
The next step is the actual interview. Here you will have to consider the industry you are applying for. An alternative look can range from piercings and tattoos to dyed hair and risqué clothing. If you’re applying to work in a conservative environment, now is not the time to expose flesh or go in looking like an extra from a Marilyn Manson music video. Remove your chrome plated grill piece, dye your hair a “normal” color, take out the colored contact lenses, and if you like to wear non-traditional jewelry like stretched out spiked earrings, it would be wise to invest in something more conservative. Check out the Body Jewelry section for a diverse selection of both conservative and bold options.
Chances are your alternative look won’t affect you negatively in your career. Hollywood celebrities, musicians, and athletes have played a large role in making alternative styles more accepted. A recent poll conducted by Salary.com shows that only 4% of people with tattoos or piercings report that they have faced discrimination for their appearance. With these encouraging statistics, I think it is safe to say that if you play your cards right, and research the type of culture you are applying to work in, you will be able to successfully navigate your way into a great career. When it comes down to getting hired, employers are more likely to accept the best person for the job, regardless of your style. So good luck on your hunt, and if you do land that dream job, be sure to celebrate your alternative look with some fresh gear from the Clothing & Accessories section!