Tattoo Hinderance

Toy Soldier

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I have NUMEROUS tattoos and was wondering if there are any "positive" stories of pilots getting hired with them.

I have them on my neck, arms. I had the ones removed from my hands with very EXPENSIVE and PAINFUL laser surgery.

I am a retired Army Captain, professional, college degree, and currently fly a twin commander for a local company. I am also a very popular flight instructor at the my FBO.

The moral of my story is that I am a very personable guy that made a bad error in judgement 23 years ago...

I need some encouragement please!!!!!!!

Thanx
Twin-Commander Commander
 

avbug

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Keep them! Don't be ashamed of them, nor of who you are...nor of who you were!

I flew for a Chief Pilot who had tattoos, received as a Chief Master Sergeant, before leaving the service to start a new career as a pilot. The tattoos didn't make any difference. I've flown with others who had them; no difference.

I can't speak for anyone else, but if I were to fly with you, my only two interests would be how you fly, and your attitude. Outside of that, being male, female, black white or other, having tattoos or not, it just doesn't matter.

I know two corporate pilots who wouldn't be caught dead outside of blue jeans. One just hired with a fractional, and wears black wranglers with his white shirt. The other wears the same, and owns a jet charter company. Nobody has ever said a word.

I'm not advocating rampant individualism outside of a SWA interview, but the point being that you can be accepted, marketable, and do just fine with or without the tattoos. Leave them right where they are, and if the question comes up, talk about them. Not a big deal at all. In fact, probably a marketable conversation piece, used properly.
 

Caveman

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I have three tattoo's including one on each forearm. The one they can't see is definitely taboo. I got hired with nary a question. That's one good thing about the cookie cutter blue interview suit....it hides em real well. They didn't ask and I didn't volunteer. Since then I've never had a problem. One smartass Capt made a comment once. Who cares. He didn't hire me and he can't fire me. Bottom line, it shouldn't be a problem.
 

Boeingman

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We have a couple of guys with major tattoos on their forearms. Didn't seem to bother HR when they were hired.

If someone doesn't want to hire you because of your looks, screw them. They are probably not worth working for anyway.

You should be hired on your skills, background and personality.
You've paid your dues, keep looking.
 

Draginass

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Don't kid yourself, Toy Soldier, your "look" does count . . . . A LOT. If you don't think so, just go to your major airline interview in bluejeans and a T-shirt. Just remember, there are LOTS of personable people just as qualified as you (and probably better) that you are competing against for those few jobs . . . and they LOOK GOOD, AND PRESENT A PROFESSIONAL, CONSERVATIVE APPEARANCE. Boeingman is dead wrong. "Looks" do count.

That being said, I wouldn't sweat the tatoos too much, as long as they aren't seen when you are properly uniformed. I'd wear a long sleeve shirt to the interview. Getting the tatoos removed off your hand was a very good idea. In the medical exam, the doc will see them, but I doubt if he'd object, as long as they'll be covered by a uniform.

In any major airline, you need to present a professional and conservative presence. Tatoos are not part of that. Maybe Boeingman thinks that having your tongue pierced or a nose-rings shouldn't matter, but in the real world, they do.
 

Ravengirl

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error in judgement?

Well, though I'm not about to be hired by an airline, I do have a desk job with a lot of public interaction. I also have a tattoo, about 5"x3", on the upper left part of my chest...and any shirt except a turtleneck shows at least some of it. My boss said, "as long as you can mostly hide it, it's fine." An old co-worker had tattoos all over her arms and just wore a lab coat or long sleeves all the time. I think if you can keep it under wraps, it's not a big issue.

Oh, and by the way...I don't think getting it was a mistake. I wasn't drunk, stoned, or otherwise impaired. I waited a long time to find the right design and artist, and I love it. It's me.

Ravengirl
 
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Boeingman

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Draginass said:
Maybe Boeingman thinks that having your tongue pierced or a nose-rings shouldn't matter, but in the real world, they do.
You always this good at putting words in people's mouths?

When I was mentioning personality, this was the general message I was conveying reference your diatribe about a profesional appearance. I'm sure that most of the educated and more relaxed forum members understood my drift.

I'm still looking for the part where I told him to dress with a T Shirt for the interview as well.
 
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furloboy

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Gents/Ladies--Looks do count. I would play it safe and remove any tattoos that show. It may not matter to me, and it may not matter to you, but the people who may hire you know that it WILL matter to SOME of their money-paying customers. Don't give them a reason to not hire you. I'd bet money that a tattoo that's visible to the ticket-buying public falls into the "reason not to hire" category. It may not be the entire reason, but why risk it?

Guinness
 

bobbysamd

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Tats

Right or wrong, there is no question that people judge you by your appearance and first impressions count. This is especially true for the airlines. They emphasize a conservative appearance. You have to view it from a passenger's point of view. Most passengers won't want to get on your airplane if you look the least bit rad.

I think a lot depends on the tattoos and how and why they were acquired. It is very common for military people to acquire tattoos. I don't know of anyone who would be shocked if they see someone sporting a Marine or anchor tattoo. Consider some of your grandfathers who served in WWII, or Avbug's example. On the other hand, if you look like Axel Rose, you will likely be greeted with revulsion.

I vote on the side of conservatism and common sense. Consider the big picture and don't let your quest for self-expression and individuality kill a career.
 

Bluestreak

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"My daddy told me "Never get a tattoo where a judge can see it".
Brian Setzer-(Stray Cats)
 

avbug

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Ravengirl,

I probably shouldn't ask, but what's the tattoo?
 

Toy Soldier

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Tatoos and performance

I must say that overall, my tattoos have HELPED me greatly in all of my achievments. This is because folks will take a "harder" look at me, then get to know me better. Also, I excell in my performance which "shocks" people causing them to be "impressed" with me! It's true!

I have only had a few times in my life where I could see the dumbass coming out of someone's expressions, tones, etc... But then, I have seen the same reactions when they find out that I am former military as well!

After all, I got to, AND THROUGH officer candidate school in the Army, was always voted "top leader" of any of my training courses, etc. I did this when there were senior officers TRYING desperately to "keep me out"-since I didn't look the "part"!!!

NEway, I appreciate the input. It's too late to do anything about some of the tats.... but like I said, I have to be BETTER, MORE PREPARED, and more PROFESSIONAL than my competition to get selected I suppose.

Again, thanx fellow-drivers.
Twin-Commander Commander
 

Ravengirl

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Hey Avbug!

You can ask and I won't kill you. It's a raven, in flight. Did you have any doubt?

Ravengirl (What, did people think my name meant that I was a little raver kid?)
 

Toy Soldier

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Hired or not???? :(

After all the volley's, I still haven't heard of any "success stories".

A friend of mine once told me that he was on Northwest (I believe) and the pilot walked out of the cabin and had as many tats as I do......

RavenGirl... Only ONE tat? ha Good girl! Keep teh count down and keep them hidden......

Twin-Commander Commander
 

Ravengirl

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*laughing at Toy Soldier*

Yes, Soldier, only one. There may be more someday, but none will be visible.

Ravengirl
 

Huck

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We can all thank Kit Darby for "dumbing down" our interview images to the same navy-blue robotic look.

I went to one of his seminars once. As I sat down with 8 other guys to eat lunch, the very first thing somebody said was (looking at my moustache) "Facial hair! That's a risk, isn't it?"

I've flown with dozens of guys with tattoos - mostly infantry/marine types, many from Viet Nam days. All great guys and excellent pilots - and all would get shot down at a major interview if the ink was visible at all. Good Gosh man don't show any personality! Check that at the door!
 

skiddriver

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Some advice for any of the young guys/gals who might be considering (1) going into military aviation and (2) getting a tattoo.

My service (Marine Corps) is heading down the road of considering some tattoos disqualifying for an officer selection program. In particular, anything that could be considered gang related or might be offensive (and they use a pretty broad brush on that one) will absolutely disqualify you. Any tattoos on the hands or neck are a real problem. Don't know the rules for the other services.

This does not mean in any way shape or form that the Corps won't take you with a tattoo, or that there aren't a gazillion (and that's a lot) Marine officers with tattoos. They just need to be in good taste and preferably not visible in the short sleeve uniform.

This is a break from tradition (I know), and I didn't come up with it (so don't flame the messenger). But before someone inadvertently shuts a door they might want to walk through some day, I thought I'd toss it out on the table.
 

Hugh Jorgan

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I'm still spending time, money and pain getting rid of a mistake on my arm. Thankfully it's not visible when wearing long sleeves, but still, I believe the removal is well worth it in order to satisfy those with conservative views (ie, HR folks). As previously stated, most pilots only care about how you fly and what sort of attitude you carry. The people that do the hiring have other things to think about, so showing them my tattoo is not something I think will enhance my hiring potential. Good luck out there.
 

Caveman

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Toy Soldier,

I guess I didn't make myself clear in my earlier post. I'm a 'success story.' I was hired with three tattoo's, two of them clearly visible on my forearms. I always wear a short sleeve shirt when in uniform and except for one comment from a grumpy young captain (I think he was intimidated), I've never had a problem. FYI: One tattoo is biker related, one is service related, and the third one (which can't be seen unless I take off my shirt) is none of your business ;-)

Caveman
 

414Flyer

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I once jumpseated on SWA, and the Captain had tattoos on his forearm. Actually he looked like someone you would see in a porn movie, with his tattoos, mustache, randy west style hair...I dont think he would have been hired at UAL :)

Yeah what Kit is doing to the hiring process (when there is hiring) is wrong IMHO. Its like he places himself as another step in the hiring process and tells everyone how we need him to get a job. he will tell us how to look, how to dress, what to say, etc. And he tries to squash websites that show interview preps for free, since it takes away from his business and then people dont need him as much
 
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