There are over 6,000 tattoo artists currently employed in the United States.
Starting your tattoo career as a new tattoo artist can be difficult. You’ll need to find a shop that will hire you, and you might have to work your way up from a tattoo apprenticeship position.
In addition, several factors can affect your salary as a tattoo artist. This includes where you work, what kind of experience you have, and where your target job prospects are located.
But with a bit of persistence, you could find a great job in a shop you love. If you are looking for a guide to finding tattoo shop jobs in 2024, this article is for you.
Know What You Want
As a new tattoo artist, you’ll need to know what kind of shop you want to work in. Are you looking for a high-end studio where you can learn from experienced artists?
Or are you looking for something more hands-on and creative? It’s important to know what kind of experience you want so you can find it.
You might also need to consider whether you want to work in a tattoo parlor at all. Some people prefer working in shops that focus on body piercing and jewelry rather than just tattoos.
Make a Job Search Plan and Stick to It
If you are looking for a job as a tattoo artist, it is important to make a plan. Analyze your time so that you’re able to set priorities and complete all the tasks at hand.
Write all the steps involved in getting a job, then break them down into smaller chunks that are easier to accomplish.
This will help you stay on track and prevent burnout. If you’re feeling discouraged or overwhelmed, take a break and come back later with a fresh perspective.
Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your USP is what sets you apart from other people who are looking for the same job as you. It could be how you take care of clients, how you approach a tattoo, or your personality.
It’s anything that makes you stand out from the rest. If you can’t think of one, ask yourself why someone should hire you instead of someone else.
When you have a USP, it will be easier to write your resume and cover letter. You’ll know what skills to highlight and how you want potential employers to perceive you.
Update Your Resume With Your Tattoo Skills
If you’re looking to get a job as a tattoo artist, the next thing you need is to update your resume. Add any relevant experience and skills you have, whether it be from school or your projects.
Make sure that your resume is up-to-date with the latest information about you and what you can do.
When you are writing your resume, be sure to include a list of references that can attest to your work ethic and skills. This will show employers you can produce quality work and be an asset to their team.
Write Cover Letters That Showcase Your Passion
Cover letters are a great way to express your passion for the position. Make sure you are showing off your personality and skills, while also highlighting how you can help their company.
Consider writing a cover letter for each job you apply to. A generic cover letter will not get as much attention as one that is written specifically for the tattooing position.
Get a Tattoo Artist License
To work as a professional tattoo artist, you will need to get a tattoo artist’s license, depending on the state you live in. In most states, this requires that you have some kind of formal training or apprenticeship and pass an exam.
You can find out if your state requires this by contacting the board of cosmetology or health department in your area. This can be a good way to show potential employers that you are serious about working in the tattoo industry.
Reach Out to Friends and Family
One of the best ways to get a job in the tattoo industry is through personal connections. If you have some friends or family members who are tattoo artists, ask them if they know of any openings.
If not, try asking around in your social circles and see if anyone knows someone who is looking for help at their shop. You can also ask the tattoo artists that you know if they know of any shops that are hiring.
The more people you know in the industry, the better. This can help you find a job faster and also make it easier to get a reference if you ever need one.
Create a Stunning Website Together
Your website will show your artistic ability and give potential employers an idea of what to expect from you. It’s also the first place potential employers will look, so you want to make sure it’s professional and easy to navigate.
If you don’t have experience with web design, there are plenty of free or low-cost solutions out there.
You can also hire someone to build a website for you. If you do, make sure that they have experience in the industry and references from satisfied clients.
Specialize in Certain Tattoo Styles or Techniques
Tattoo artists are free to specialize in any style or technique they like. This could include traditional Japanese tattoos, watercolor tattoos, or anything else you can think of.
Specializing in a specific technique or style can be a great way to build your reputation. This can help you build a loyal clientele, which can be very important when you are trying to find a job.
Build a Professional Portfolio
A portfolio of your work is essential to getting a job as a tattoo artist. Potential employers will want to see that you have the skills and experience to produce quality tattoos.
Many employers will ask you to provide a portfolio of your work, so you must build one before applying for jobs. You can create a portfolio by collecting photos of your best tattoos and putting them together in an album.
Look Beyond the Big Employers
When you are looking for jobs as a tattoo artist, it’s important to not limit yourself to the big employers. Many smaller shops need artists as well, and these can be excellent places to work.
Find these shops by asking around your local tattoo community or by searching online.
Once you have a list of potential employers, contact them and ask if they are hiring. Many shops will provide an application form that you can fill out and return.
Polish Your Interviewing Skills
It’s important to practice interviewing so that you are prepared for the real thing. Research the common interview questions and practice answering them in front of a mirror.
Prepare responses that are concise, transparent, and convey who you are as an artist. If you don’t have any experience interviewing, ask a friend to help you practice.
Customize Your Job Applications
Customize your application to the specific shop you’re applying for. If you are applying at a shop that specializes in tribal art, you won’t want to send a portfolio of black and gray pieces.
Instead, focus on the work they do and submit examples that reflect your ability as an artist in that style. The more specific you can be about how your skills will benefit them, the better your chances of getting hired.
Check Online Job Boards
Online job boards are a great resource for artists who are looking for work. They’re easy to search, and you can often find listings that aren’t advertised anywhere else.
If you’re looking for a job, it’s a good idea to apply for at least one job every day. The more jobs you apply for, the better your chances of getting hired.
Don’t Be Afraid of Low-Level Jobs
If you’re just starting, don’t be afraid to take a job that pays less than what you want. This is just the first step in your career.
You can build up your experience and reputation and then move on to more lucrative jobs.
Consider taking a part-time job to supplement your income. This will help you pay bills and support yourself while you’re working on your career.
Use Your Social Media Presence
Many employers will look at your social media accounts before hiring you. If you use social media, make sure it reflects well on your artistic abilities and personality.
Make sure you have a professional-looking profile photo and update your status regularly.
Be sure to use the proper hashtags and keywords when you post on social media. This will help you get noticed by employers looking for artists in your area.
Market Yourself as a Brand
You are a brand, and you have to market yourself like a brand. The more people know about you and your work, the better chance you have of getting hired.
Do this by networking, joining professional organizations, and attending industry events. This will help you get noticed by employers looking for artists in your area.
Connect With Other Tattoo Artists
Tattoo artists are an excellent resource when you are looking for work. They can tell you about the latest trends and where to find jobs in your area.
They can also help you get started in your new career by referring you to shops that are looking for new hires. Form a network with other tattoo artists, which will make it easier for you to find work in the future.
Join a Professional Organization
Many professional organizations cater to tattoo artists. These groups can offer you access to resources and job opportunities in your area.
Some of these organizations include the National Tattoo Association, the Association of Professional Tattooists, and the Tattoo Artists Guild.
Join these organizations and get involved in the community. You’ll be able to network with other artists, find out about new jobs, and stay up-to-date on industry trends.
Be Flexible With Your Hours
Tattoo artists usually work long hours, especially if they are just starting. You may have to work nights, weekends, and holidays.
This might not be the best option for people who are looking for a 9-to-5 job. However, if you can work nights and weekends, you will have more opportunities to make money and build your client base.
Be Willing to Move
You may need to move if you are looking for work as a tattoo artist. The best places to find work in the industry are cities with a large population and lots of tourists.
Look for cities that have many tattoo studios. Find out what tattoo artists earn in different cities and weigh this against how much it will cost you to move there.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
It can be tempting to accept any job. However, it is better to say no to a poor offer than to take it and end up working for someone who isn’t honest.
If you don’t feel comfortable with the proposed terms of employment, don’t take the job. It’s important to protect yourself, your reputation, and your hard-earned skills.
Stay Patient and Persistent
A career path as a tattoo artist isn’t an overnight success. You need to be patient and persistent, especially when you’re starting.
It may take a while to find the right position, but it will happen. If you stay patient and persistent, you’ll be able to carve out a career as a tattoo artist that is both rewarding and fun.
Tattoo Shop Jobs: Find One That’s Right for You
Finding tattoo shop jobs can be a challenge for many artists. The good news is that there are plenty of options available to you.
You can find a job at a tattoo shop by looking online, in person, and by word of mouth. By following the above tips, you’ll be able to find a job that fits your personality and style.
Florida Tattoo Academy offers a training program that will prepare you to be a professional, working tattoo artist. Contact us today to learn more!