Tattoos leave mark on job opportunities

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Published 2011-01-31T21:25:00Z”/>


Stephanie Consiglio

A colorful phoenix holding the world at its feet with the word “relentless” written below it covers the back of sophomore studio art major Jason Conrad.

“I have the world at my feet because I’m going to do what I want and I’m relentless, so nothing is going to stop me,” Conrad said.

Standing at 7 feet tall, Conrad is painted with tattoos from the top of his chest and back to part of his right thigh and it isn’t going to stop there, he said.

“I want to be covered,” Conrad said. “Each one has its own story.”

Conrad plans to play basketball overseas or get an internship to be a tattoo artist, he said. But students who are looking to work in a more conservative atmosphere should think about first impressions when securing a spot in a good career.

There has been more tolerance for tattoos in society, but since the work field is more competitive, employers can be pickier, said Jamie Starmer, director of the Chico State Career Center. It all depends on the environment of the professional world.

People should get tattoos in spots that can be easily covered up and consider potential life goals before getting a permanent tattoo, he said.

Students have to be careful that if getting a tattoo shows who they are, then people have to be themselves, but they still need the flexibility to cover those kinds of things up, Starmer said.

Creative kinds of jobs and environments would be more accepting of tattoos, Starmer said. More traditional companies that are conservative wouldn’t be fond of visible tattoos.

Jobs that require their employees to work with the public on a daily basis, such as sales, wouldn’t want their employees to have tattoos, said Megan Odom, the Career Center’s associate director.

“In 5 or 10 years you may have a totally different view of where you want to go and what you want to do, and that could hold you out of a whole type of work,” Starmer said.

Tattoos will close some doors for some people, Odom said.

Having a tattoo is not the issue, Starmer said. It’s where the tattoo is put and how many there are.

“A tattoo should be between you and you,” he said. “If you choose to show it, then it becomes an issue.”

There is no saying a tattoo is right or wrong, but don’t give an employer a reason not to hire you, Starmer said.

“I honestly think it’s a cohort thing – as the older generation retires, the younger generation with tattoos, people like me, will be in the workforce,” junior psychology major Rebecca Mahan said.

As younger people fill the work field, the more understanding people will be, she said. If someone comes into work with a tattoo, they won’t be seen as a “hooligan.”

Getting a tattoo on the face or hand in particular looks unprofessional, Mahan said. Tattoos should definitely be put where they can be covered up.

“I’m not naive enough to say, ‘No, it’s never going to matter,'” she said. “My thing is I don’t want to work somewhere that is going to judge on something as shallow at that.”

People should always think tattoos through and should take into consideration their future job plan first, Conrad said.

“I’ll look back on it, and when I have kids I can tell them this tattoo means this and this stands for this,” he said. “It will be fun telling stories for them.”

Stephanie Consiglio can be reached at

[email protected]


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