Finding a Job When You Have Tattoos, Piercings, or Body Modifications

Group of office workers (focus on woman in centre) portrait
David Lees/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Unfortunately, people with visible body art who seek work often find their applications and resumes at the bottom of an employer’s pile. It’s still considered an undesirable trait in most industries and professions, and prejudicial stereotyping abounds. If you have tattoos, piercings, or any other visible modifications, you’ve got an automatic strike against you when it comes to impressing a potential future employer, even if you ace your interview. As much as it pains me to say this, we have reached the point of the proverbial “desperate times” that call for “desperate measures.” This article is designed to help you seek and find a job, but we’ll warn you right now that you’re not going to like some of it.

Pride vs. Practicality

We applaud anyone who stands up and says, “I don’t care. I’m not covering my body art for anyone.” Well, we applaud them as long as they can pay their bills and take care of their families. However, if pride and stubbornness are preventing you from being able to do those things, then your priorities need to be examined. The fact of the matter is this: you need money to survive, and you need work to ​have money. If that means going against your natural inclinations and shunning your rebellious side for a few hours a day, so be it. It’s time to “think anew and act anew.”

But there’s more to finding a job than just covering up your body art.

Seeking Jobs That Allow Tattoos and Piercings

The good news is that more and more companies are shedding the old perceptions about body art and are changing their policies to at least allow some visible tattoos and/or piercings as long as they meet certain criteria. As long as you’re not looking for a corporate position, you may be able to find a part or full-time job at one of these companies. So, the first thing you need to know is what career fields and companies are body art friendly. 

Let’s start with the easiest option first, and that would be finding a job with a company that doesn’t have a problem with visible body art. We all know that you can get a job at most fast food joints if you have body art, although most of them will still make you cover any piercings with a band-aid. But for most adults, especially those with families, an entry-level job in fast food isn’t the optimal situation (although you should be willing to at least get a job in fast food temporarily if that’s what it takes to put food on the table while you search for better work. A little money is better than no money at all.) So, if you’re looking for something a little more substantial than flipping burgers, where do you start?

Body Art Friendly Employers

Below is a very preliminary list of places that have been reputed to allow tattooed and/or pierced employees. We hope that this list grows with time. It’s also important to note that it's always possible that the policies are different from one region to the next. This list is just to help you get started; it will still be your responsibility to find out exactly what your local branch allows. 

Whole Foods Sally's Beauty Supply
Hot Topic/Torrid Trader Joe's
Border's Books Target
Claire's Boutique Piercing Pagoda
Burlington Coat Factory Albertson's
Big Lots Barnes & Noble
IKEA Forever 21
Journeys Spencer's Gifts
Sam Ash Staples
Blockbuster Ticketmaster
Hard Rock Cafe/Hotel Best Buy
Kohl's Anthropologie
Home Depot Lowe's
Petco Google
Fed Ex (Delivery) UPS
MAC Cosmetics LUSH Cosmetics
Tokyo Joe's Dunkin Donuts
Half Price Books Applebee's
Amazon(.com) Zappos(.com)