Eom Ji-won began her acting career in the late 1990s. In 2003, she scored a Best New Actress nomination at the 25th Blue Dragon Film Awards for the movie Mutt Boy. The following year, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 26th Blue Dragon Film Awards her work in the erotic thriller film The Scarlet Letter. In 2007, she took home the Best Supporting Actress trophy at the 15th Chunsa Film Art Awards for the movie Traces of Love, which is based on the 1995 Sampoong Department Store collapse. In 2013, she starred in the movie Hope, which was hailed Best Film at the 34th Blue Dragon Film Awards. She also collected several Best Actress nominations and wins for her performance in the movie. In 2016, she was named Best Actress at the 36th Golden Cinema Festival for action thriller film The Phone. That same year, she won Best Supporting Actress at the 21st Chunsa Film Art Awards for the mystery thriller The Silenced.  In 2016, she headlined the mystery movie Missing along with Gong Hyo-jin. In 2021, she earned a Best Actress for TV nomination at the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards for the tvN miniseries Birthcare Center.

Eom Ji-won married architect Oh Young-wook in 2014. They divorced in 2021.