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Alan Kotok ,

To Ink or Not to Ink

The Jobacle blog today discusses the career implications of getting a tattoo. Sporting a colorful design somewhere on one’s body has become much more common than it used to be, but what kind of message does that send to a potential employer when you walk into an interview?

If your tattoo is visible, as opposed to one of those body parts usually kept hidden, then you might have something to worry about. If the hiring manager is older or the employer is known to be conservative, you increase the risk of an upraised eyebrow. And if the job has public contact or management responsibilities, the employer may be concerned about the message the tattoo sends to people inside and outside the enterprise.

Jennifer Brown Banks, the Jobacle blogger, tells about a job-hunting friend who had little trouble getting interviews, but ran into problems during those interviews due to the ink visible on his neck and arms. When he finally got a job, the company asked him to wear long sleeves to cover at least the tattoos on his arms, even in scorching heat.

Something like a tattoo shouldn’t make a difference in getting hired, but in a tough job market like the one we have today, little things can make the difference between getting hired and not getting hired.

That said, some scientists have really cool tattoos.