If you are thoroughly confused by the title of this question then I completely understand because it confuses me a bit too, so I will elaborate on my situation.

A while ago I applied for a job at a large non-profit employer in my area that I later found out was actually a position at a really small shell for-profit company. This company was started as an initiative to fill a need for the non-profit but also potentially provide a service in a growing market for profit, probably for directors and upper management to get around the fact that they can't actually seek profit for sake of profit and still maintain their special tax status as a non-profit.

My paycheck and benefits come directly through the non-profit. My retirement is through a 403(b) (potential legal issue?), I deal with the non-profit HR department and I even have a keycard badge that identifies me as an employee of the non-profit.

The for-profit company however has its own federal tax ID number and come tax season I actually get a W2 for the company and NOT for the non-profit.

This is only the beginning of where the lines are blurred on where I am employed and who I work for...

A recent business opportunity presented itself that doesn't really fit with the company mission and focus but i have been delegated on researching and planning the project so far. The CEO was really excited by what was found and wants to pursue it, but doesn't want to put the current company at risk with the large amount of capital needed to fund such an endeavor, so he made the decision to form a new company around this new product.

I am not sure of much of the details yet but I imagine the new company will have the same mailing address and exist for tax purposes, but it looks like the current team will just be delegated to work on the project for the other company (Again, possible legal issues but legal advice is likely offtopic here).

And to top it all off me and my direct boss were working on an unrelated side project for the past year that my direct boss is soon going to incorporate for us as 50/50 owners, all of this the CEO is aware of and actually gave us his verbal blessing on.

Oh and I also put a few hours a week in as a 1099 contractor for a friends company that I really haven't told my employers about...

So basically my situation is:

  • Non-Profit Organization: Pay + Benefits + ability to transfer to other divisions as an internal move
  • Company A: W2 + Office and work location + some of my work effort

  • Company B: No pay or W2 in addition that I know of (possibly 1099 to avoid legal issues?), most of my work effort

  • Company C: Partial owner, work at home, possibility of a small amount of money being made but not a lot, CEO aware and cool with this

  • Company D: 1099 contractor, work from home, small amount of money, nobody really knows that I am doing this on the side as well.

I find myself at dismay over how complicated my employment situation has become but somehow right now everything seems to work out for me pretty great. I am not looking but always try to keep my resume updated however and I have NO IDEA where to start here.

If I were to hand my resume to an employer with 5 different organizations listed on it for a single period then I am sure it will raise eyebrows. A positive side I can see is that for good or bad I will indeed stand out from the crowd.

What is the best way to fully capture the breadth of my employment experience during this era of my life on my resume?

Are there certain aspects of my employment history here that would seem suspicious or cause problems during a normal background check?

2 Answers 2


As the viewer of your resume, what I want to know is: Who is your contract with? What were you doing? What have you achieved?

I certainly don't need all the information you've listed above, although it may come up in interview, which will be lucky for you cause you could easily kill 10 minutes with that story.

Guessing a little, but judging by what you've said, I would suggest listing everything for the non-profit and Companies A and B under one heading -- mark that as whoever your contract is with (the non-profit?).

Companies C and D are basically hobbies, as far as I am concerned, unless they've offered you experience that I'm interested in. List them as such.

  • 2
    +1 I generally agree with this; I have also (done or seen) everything listed as B,C,D under one heading of "Indepedent Technical Consultant".
    – jcmeloni
    May 16, 2012 at 13:28

What is the best way to fully capture the breadth of my employment experience during this era of my life on my resume?

All you have to do is list your current employeer. Which sounds like is the non-profit and the company you are a partial owner of. You can list your contract work if you want.

As long as you outline your skills on your resume, the fact your employement status is really complicate does not matter, some new employeer isn't going to care you work for the same company in 4 different ways.

Unless you are being paid for the work, then that activity might not even be worth listing on your resume, you control every single detail of your past employement.

List your Hobbies, Pass Employement, and any other sigificant experience you might have.

Its not exactly like anyone interested in offering you a job will be able to prove anything on your resume is false, unless they happen to know the same people you know, which is the reason you tell the truth.

There is nothing wrong with filtering your hobbies and employement status to the most important details provided it is the truth.

  • 1
    Thanks for the input, but the fact that it is complicated makes it hard to determine fact from fiction. It may be "true" but if I say I worked for X and a company performs a background check on me and can't find a record of me ever working for X then that could be a potential problem. May 16, 2012 at 15:05
  • 1
    @maple_shaft, you're getting ahead of yourself. The resume is to get your foot in the door. The background check happens after you've filled out their application and after they've decided to hire you. Filling out their application, listing your references, and doing the interviews, that's the time you get to start explaining some of these things. And don't consider your situation unique either, there are many people that are in weird contractual situations. Jan 31, 2014 at 12:47

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