For his role in Mad Men, Jon Hamm won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama in 2008 and 2016, two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama Series, and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2015. He received 16 Primetime Emmy Award nominations for acting in and producing Mad Men and for his guest appearances on 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
After graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Jon Hamm returned to his high school to teach eighth-grade acting. One of his students was Ellie Kemper, who became an actress. Years later, Hamm appeared in Kemper's Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
In 2000, Hamm landed the role of romantic firefighter Burt Ridley on NBC's drama series Providence. His one-episode contract grew to 19 and allowed him to quit waiting tables. He made his feature movie debut with one line in Clint Eastwood's adventure film Space Cowboys (2000). More substantial roles followed in the independent comedy Kissing Jessica Stein (2001) and the war film We Were Soldiers (2002), during which he turned 30.
Hamm landed his breakthrough role in 2007, when he was chosen from over 80 candidates to play the protagonist character Don Draper in AMC's drama series Mad Men. In the series, set in a fictional 1960s Madison Avenue ad agency, he played a suave, married, philandering executive with an obscure past.
Mad Men debuted on July 19, 2007, with almost 1.4 million viewers. It developed a loyal audience, with Hamm receiving strong reviews. Robert Bianco of USA Today described Hamm's portrayal of Draper as "a starmaking performance", and The Boston Globe's Matthew Gilbert called Hamm a "brilliant lead".
Hamm's first leading film role came with the independent mystery thriller Stolen in 2009, in which he played a police officer whose son has been missing for eight years. In 2010 he had a minor voice role in the animated feature Shrek Forever After as an ogre leader named Brogan, and appeared as an FBI agent in the crime drama The Town with Ben Affleck.
In 2010, Mercedes-Benz hired Jon Hamm as the new voiceover of their commercials, beginning with a commercial for the S400 Hybrid brand campaign. In 2013, American Airlines debuted a television commercial titled "Change is in the Air", featuring Hamm's voice-over. Hamm is an American Airlines frequent flier and his Mad Men character Don Draper often spoke of aspiring to win such accounts as American Airlines. Hamm has also appeared in several commercials in an ongoing ad campaign for H&R Block income tax services. He also appears in ongoing ads in Canada for SkipTheDishes. In January 2022 he appeared on an Apple TV+ ad titled "Everyone but Jon Hamm" showcasing the streaming service's wide array of A-list actresses and actors participating in original Apple productions. Also in 2022, Jon Hamm was featured in a series of TV commercials for Progressive Insurance as having an off-and-on relationship with spokesperson Flo.