Can You Get a Job with Self-Harm Scars?

November 11, 2021 Kim Berkley

Many people in recovery wonder, can you get a job with self-harm scars, or will your past always cast a shadow over your future? The truth is, while you can't erase the past, that doesn't mean you have to let it hold you back.

Yes, You Can Get a Job with Self-Harm Scars

If you're in the U.S., discrimination in the workplace (including during interviews) is illegal. If you live outside of the U.S., this may or may not be true for you as well; be sure to check your country's employment laws if you are unsure. But regardless of the legality of it, discrimination is wrong, and any employer worth working for will not use your self-harm scars as an excuse not to hire you.

Of course, the world isn't perfect. People aren't perfect. Some are prejudiced; others may strive not to be but may still harbor unconscious biases that may influence their decisions. So yes, you can get a job with self-harm scars, but it's important to recognize when you may need to cover your scars in order to do so.

Getting a 'Regular' Job with Self-Harm Scars

If you are looking for a more traditional work setting—a job you physically attend, either on a full or part-time basis on a regular schedule—I would suggest covering up your scars during the interview process. Long sleeves and pants or a skirt are, in most cases, seen as more "professional" anyway, so these are often a good option.

If you're not particular about what job you get, you might even consider focusing your search on positions that would likely require this type of attire—janitorial services, medical practices, and manufacturing jobs, for example, often require conservative dress codes or protective gear. If your scars reach beyond what clothes can cover, consider concealing your scars with makeup if you can.

Once you're through the interview process, assuming you get the job, you can use your best judgment to determine if and when to uncover your scars.

But maybe you can't cover up all of your scars, or maybe you don't want to. What then?

Other Strategies for Getting a Job with Self-Harm Scars

One option is to ignore the advice above and go for it anyway. If you really need a job, or if you're after your dream job, you shouldn't let me or anyone else hold you back from doing what you need to do. And the truth is, while covering your scars may be the safer option, you can get a job with self-harm scars, even if you don't hide them.

Discrimination laws aside, there's also the simple fact that not everyone is a jerk. Yes, there are a lot of them out there, but there are a lot of good people too, and I'm cautiously optimistic about the future of employment in general. So while some employers may allow stigma to influence their hiring decisions, not all of them will.

If, however, your scars do become an obstacle in your job search (even if, in a just world, they wouldn't), there is yet another avenue to consider: working from home.

Remote work is more prevalent than ever, and many businesses these days offer fully remote opportunities. Interviewing over video chat, rather than in person, may make it much easier for you to avoid showing your scars without necessarily worrying about covering them up with makeup or clothing. Or, if you choose to freelance, you may be able to avoid video calls altogether.

In my case, much of my freelance correspondence has been email-only, with a few exceptions requiring audio-only calls during the interview stage. I won't sugarcoat this; freelancing isn't easy, especially if you intend to rely on it as a primary source of income. But it's an option and one worth considering if your other options seem less than promising.

Have you gotten a job in spite of your self-harm scars? Let us know in the comments what your experience was like or if you have any ideas to make the interview process easier for others. And to those currently searching for work, I wish you the best of luck.

APA Reference
Kim Berkley (2021, November 11). Can You Get a Job with Self-Harm Scars?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, November 30 from

Author: Kim Berkley

Find Kim on Instagram, Facebook and her blog.

Leave a reply