I am stuck on how to describe this position on my resume.

A friend of mine works for a company. The company did not hire me, but he paid me (over the table) to do some of the work.

What is this called? Working 'under' somebody? It just sounds like a normal boss-employee relationship. I don't want to claim I was working for the company since I am probably not in their records.

If I leave it off my resume, I have a big job gap.

I just need a technical term for "working for somebody who works at a company without being officially employed by the company."

  • 2
    Did you have a contract, and if so who did that say was your employer? Jan 2, 2023 at 20:33
  • 54
    In the USA, calling yourself a sub-contractor is probably the most correct way to describe your employment. But I'm curious... is this arrangement known and approved by the company that your friend is working for?
    – joeqwerty
    Jan 2, 2023 at 20:56
  • Is your friend an employee of the company, or a contractor?
    – jcaron
    Jan 3, 2023 at 13:22
  • 15
    I would really simply write "contractor" there.
    – Fattie
    Jan 3, 2023 at 14:08
  • 2
    The company knew. They even offered me a position but I didn't take it.
    – Ben Alan
    Jan 4, 2023 at 16:22

4 Answers 4


Subcontractor Even if it may not be entirely accurate depending on the nature of the 'contract' you had, it's something that majority of people will understand.

  • 10
    Yes; or even contractor if the friend is an employee. Nobody works without a contract, even if it's just a handshake agreement. Jan 3, 2023 at 4:49
  • 50
    I think "(independent) contractor" would be the better term. You are only a "sub-contractor", if the friend or it's company is a "contractor" themselves and we have no indication of that.
    – nvoigt
    Jan 3, 2023 at 11:10
  • 16
    I'm afraid this is just wrong. In all cases I can think of you'd be a 'contractor". Note that a "subcontractor" is indeed ........ a contractor. Stating "subcontractor" ios confusing at best, unusual, and likely plain wrong unless the "other person" was ALSO literally a contractor.
    – Fattie
    Jan 3, 2023 at 14:09
  • 4
    @SimonCrase Just because someone is working under a contract we don't call them a "contractor". That term is normally short for independent contractor, as opposed to permanent employee.
    – Barmar
    Jan 3, 2023 at 16:23
  • The OP would only be a contractor if he was engaged by the company. It's a slightly odd business relationship, but it's clear there are two separate processes: the friend is engaged by the company to do some work, and in some private capacity (not as an employee) the friend passes on work. There are two stages of contracting or passing on work, hence subcontractor. I agree it's an odd arrangement, but if the friend was a company hired for the work it would be plainer.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 4, 2023 at 23:07

Contractor would be the term you want.

There's nothing "sub" about it.

If your friend is a contractor as well, rather than an employee, then you'd technically be a subcontractor, but that's more about the contractual details of the relationship than the nature of your role.

  • 3
    If the OP wishes to describe the position, then it was indeed "sub-contracting". If he wishes to describe himself, then either may be equally appropriate, depending on whether he is ever/never employed directly.
    – MikeB
    Jan 4, 2023 at 10:50
  • 10
    As far as I can tell, the OP is paid by the friend, not the company. The company hired the friend to do a job, who then contracted it out to the OP. The company gets the work done, but doesn't directly pay the person who did it - this seems like the textbook case of subcontracting, where someone hired to do a job hires someone else to do the job. The OP has no contract whatsoever with the company, the only contractual relationship is between the OP and their friend. I'd say either contractor or subcontractor works. Jan 4, 2023 at 16:38

Alternatively, you could duck out of trying to explain the formalities and just say you were freelancing. That covers a variety of work relationships where you're not formally employed by a company you're performing work for.


If you signed the contract between you and your friend, you are the contractor to your friend not to your friends' company. If you didn't sign the contract, you are the casual employee of your friend

  • 8
    While laws vary by jurisdiction, in many places contracting work is done without formal signatures and is still considered contracting for legal purposes including taxation or qualification for employee protections. (Nothing I say on this site should ever be viewed as legal advice. Please consult a qualified attorney in your jurisdiction if necessary). Jan 4, 2023 at 18:47

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