Tattoo Artist Resume Example

Before you can get to inking, you have to make sure your resume is studio-ready. Check out our resume example and guide to take you from tattoo apprentice to tattoo artist.

Flor Ana Mireles
Written by Flor Ana Mireles • Last updated on May 21, 2021
Tattoo Artist Resume Example
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A tattoo artist is an artist who has taken their drawing skills from paper to skin. Tattoo artists work with pigments and needles and apply permanent designs directly to clients' bodies.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, there are currently 51,900 jobs available in the field of fine arts, which, surprisingly to some, includes tattoo artist jobs.

Before you can get to tattooing someone, there are a few requirements:

  • A minimum of a high school diploma
  • State tattoo license
  • Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) certificate
  • CPR training
  • A well-presented portfolio
  • Proven experience tattooing in a tattoo studio
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Exceptional customer service skills
  • Detail-oriented and artistic

Given you've already met the requirements, you'll need to present yourself and your resume in a professional manner to get a job in a tattoo studio. Luckily for you, this guide is here to help you do just that.

Here are the 7 steps you need to get your resume ready for a tattoo artist position:

  1. Format your resume
  2. Include an impressive resume summary
  3. Include a link to your portfolio
  4. Describe your work experience
  5. List your tattoo styles
  6. Highlight your key skills
  7. Add your education

1. Format your resume in a way that highlights everything a studio is looking for in a tattoo artist

Being a tattoo artist is not your typical, traditional job. Therefore, your resume is not going to be typical and traditional either.

As a tattoo artist, there are certain things you'll want to include in your resume, such as your tattoo styles and links to your portfolio, which we'll go over in more detail a little later. While you may want to showcase everything you've done in your tattoo artist career, you have very limited space on a resume. Therefore, it's important for your resume to follow a format that best showcases your experience and skills.

Did you know there are three ways to format your resume? Here's what they are:

  1. Reverse-chronological, which emphasizes your previous work experience
  2. Functional, which highlights your key skills
  3. Hybrid, which combines the previous formats

As a tattoo artist, you want to use a hybrid format to structure your resume so you can show off what skills and experience you can offer and if they suit the tattoo studio you are applying to.

It is also important to incorporate relevant action verbs into the format of your resume. This will help you demonstrate what you can do for the studio.

We have a list of over 350 action verbs you can incorporate into your resume on our site.

Tip: Be sure to include any social media that hiring artists can look at, like LinkedIn or even Instagram if you use it to display your portfolio. If you want, you can even add a profile photo to your resume as well as some color to give it that creative touch.

2. Include an impressive resume summary that highlights your abilities

Sometimes, resumes are only briefly looked at, and hiring tattoo artists are wanting to spend more time tattooing and designing than looking at resumes.

Writing a 1-2 sentence resume summary can help hiring tattoo artists determine if you're the right artist for the studio and if you have the right experience.

Sometimes, it's difficult to summarize yourself in 1-2 sentences, but here are some elements you should always include in your resume summary:

  • Years of experience
  • Specific kinds of tattoo styles you do

Here's a good example of what your resume summary should look like:

Creative and detail-oriented tattoo artist with 4 years of experience in the design and application of tattoos. Specialized in dot work and adept at working with clients to design thoughtful and original tattoos while creating a comfortable and sanitary atmosphere.

This is a good example of a tattoo artist's resume summary because it highlights how much experience the artist has, where his/her strengths lie, and even displays a little of the tattoo artist's values and characteristics.

Here's a bad example of a resume summary:

Tattoo artist with 4 years experience working at a tattoo studio. I can do dot work, blackwork and Japanese styles.

While this example highlights information that's good to know, it doesn't do so in such a professional manner.

Want more examples? Our guide on writing resume summaries has tons.

3. Include a link to your portfolio

As we mentioned earlier, one of the most important things to include with your resume when applying to a tattoo artist position is your portfolio.

Your portfolio is a hiring artist's way of knowing what you've done. It lets him/her get a field for your tattooing style and if it matches what the studio needs at that moment.

Tip: You can have a physical portfolio you can give to hiring tattoo artists or you can have a digital portfolio that they'll have access to at all times.

If you're planning on creating a digital portfolio, here are some sites you can use to organize and showcase your tattoos:

  • Instagram (also a good way to attract more clients)
  • Wix
  • Squarespace
  • WordPress
Tip: When it comes to selecting the tattoos you want to add to your portfolio, you have two options. If you're just starting out, add all the tattoos you've done to your portfolio, but as you do more tattoos and get more experience, remove the pieces that perhaps didn't come out so great and only add pieces that you love and know others are going to find cool, too.

Here are some more portfolio tips:

  • Make your portfolio stand out by implementing your own style and creativity
  • Use high-resolution images to truly show hiring tattoo artists and clients your skills and attention to detail
  • Spend time reviewing your work and your portfolio. Proofread everything in your portfolio to avoid spelling, grammar, or technical errors.

4. Describe your work experience

To become a tattoo artist, you need experience. If you don't have experience, try looking for tattoo apprenticeships, which give you exposure to the field and teach you how to be a tattoo artist.

Tip: Title this section of your resume as work experience and apprenticeships to let hiring artists know at a glance that you've done both.

Being a tattoo artist may be a fun job, but it still requires artists to be professionals. Show hiring artists that you've got this by describing your work experience and listing it in a reverse-chronological format.

Here are some job descriptions you can include in your resume for a tattoo artist position:

  • Scheduled appointments with clients and discussed pricing
  • Shaved various areas of clients' bodies in preparation for tattoo applications
  • Cleaned various areas of clients’ skin using antibacterial soap
  • Advised clients on tattoo size, color, and suitable placement
  • Carefully listened to clients in order to understand their tattoo ideas
  • Showed clients tattoo designs if they don’t have any in mind
  • Stenciled the chosen designs onto clients’ skin and used a tattoo gun to create permanent designs
  • Covered recently tattooed areas with sterile dressings
  • Provided clients with instructions on how to care for newly tattooed areas.
  • Maintained a clean and safe work environment by adhering to state and federal health regulations.

If you haven't officially become a tattoo artist, but have done an apprenticeship, here's what you can list for the job description:

  • Assisted with studio operations.
  • Learned to design tattoos.
  • Operated tattooing equipment.
  • Sanitized tattoo stations and sterilized tools and equipment.
  • Tattoo customers in dot work and stick and poke styles.

If you want to learn more, take a look at our guide on how to describe work experience on a resume in 2021.  

Tip: Feel free to include the specific tattoo styles you are acquainted with when describing your apprenticeship or work experience as a tattoo artist.

5. List your tattoo styles in your resume

Regardless of how long you've been a tattoo artist, like regular pencil-and-paper artists, you have a style you've developed or are developing.

Be sure to include the styles or style on your resume. It will show hiring tattoo artists that you care about their time and know what you're doing.

Tip: If you work in multiple styles, consider organizing your portfolio by styles, too.

Here are some types of tattoo styles you can list in your resume:

  • Dot Work
  • Blackwork
  • Black and Grey
  • Geometric
  • Stick and Poke
  • Classic Americana
  • Realism
  • Portraiture
  • New School
  • Surrealism
  • Japanese
  • Biomechanical

Need more help writing the perfect resume? We have a guide that can help you do just that.

6. Highlight your key skills

Just because key skills are more towards the bottom of our guide doesn't mean they are not important. In fact, they are essential.

Highlighting your key skills shows hiring artists your talents. It also gives you an opportunity to rank higher in the application pool if they're using keyword searches to organize their applicants.

Here are some examples of key skills you can list in your resume:

  • Safe Sterilization Practices
  • Technical Drawing Skills
  • Figure Drawing Skills
  • Design Skills
  • Artistic Ability
  • Creativity
  • Manual Dexterity
  • Communication Skills
  • Organization
  • Time Management
Tip: You can also include languages as key skills.

Having trouble identifying your skills? We have a guide with 100+ key skills you can include in your resume.

7. Add your education to your resume

As mentioned at the very beginning of this guide, to become a tattoo artist you need a minimum of a high diploma or GED.

Despite this, most tattoo artists have formal training or some kind of experience in the following:

  • Drawing
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration

If you've attended college or even attended a tattoo school, be sure to list it in the education section of your resume.

Here is what this section can look like:

The University of New Orleans

New Orleans, LA

2012 — 2016

Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts

Frederick A. Douglass Senior High School

New Orleans, LA

2008 — 2012

GPA: 3.7/4.0

Need more helping listing your education? Don't know if to include your high school education or GPA? We have a guide that will help you list your education in 2021 with examples and tips.

Key Takeaways

Overall, just like you get your station ready whenever you're going to tattoo someone, you need to get your resume ready whenever you're planning on applying to a new tattoo studio.

Here's a summary of everything we've covered:

  1. Format your resume to showcase the creative you are in a professional way
  2. Write an impressive resume summary
  3. Include a link to your portfolio
  4. Describe your work experience
  5. List your tattoo styles
  6. Highlight your key skills
  7. Add your education

With our guide, you'll be tattooing in no time. Good luck!

Flor Ana Mireles
Flor Ana Mireles is a writer and editor with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Journalism) and a background in English literature, music, marketing, and business. She is also the self-published author of two poetry collections and the lead singer of South Florida rock band Leather and Lace. Flor has experience in social media and getting crafty and artsy. When she is not writing, she's spending time in nature, reading, or listening to music.
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