So the specifics are as follows. My spouse got a job as a independent contractor for an online job. They didn't work it much, and when I didn't have a 'real job' (for a matter of years), I worked the job. I did the max hours a week, got paid, performed at their standards, etc. But of course it was all under my spouses name.

the job was as an independent contractor, so no taxes were taken out.

Obviously "I" didn't work there, but without putting it on my resume I have a huge gap in employment. It's kind of difficult to contact the company (though I am going to try contacting them acting as an employer verifying employment), so who knows if a job I am applying to will ever find out it wasn't "me" that worked there.

So my question is what do I do about putting/not putting this on a resume?

  • 11
    When you did the work, did you tell the employer/clients that it was you ("Hi there, this is actually Mr./Mrs. XYZ."), or did you maintain all communications while pretending to be your spouse the whole time?
    – Brandin
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 7:02
  • You should clarify what you mean by, "OK to put on resume?", because when you state: "so who knows if a job I am applying to will ever find out it wasn't "me" that worked there.", it sounds like you don't care if it's legally OK, or even ethically OK, it seems like you are more asking: "Will I get caught, and if I do get caught what are the consequences?" -- If that's your question then edit your post to clarify. There are explicit answers on the ethics and legality of what you want to do, but simply wondering if you will get caught may be out of scope for this site.
    – Quantic
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 20:28
  • 1
    If you have to complete a background check and or reference check for the past employer, that's going to get awful awkward when there is no record of anyone by your name working for the company, no tax records, no employment report on your credit report, and no real person who can verify your actual employment if they have no idea who you are (only your wife). Such application fraud is a great way to lose a large portion of your legal rights and recourse regarding your employer: employment.findlaw.com/hiring-process/…
    – BrianH
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 20:32
  • When you get a new job, are you going to secretly subcontract the work to someone else? Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 14:31

7 Answers 7


So my question is what do I do about putting/not putting this on a resume?

Easy. You don't claim work that was "under someone else's name". (You shouldn't work "under someone else's name either, but that's a different question.)

For all anyone but your spouse knows, you didn't do the work - your spouse did. Your spouse basically lied to the employer and you were complicit. That's not a great story to try to sell a potential employer.

the job was as an independent contractor, so no taxes were taken out.

Well, taxes weren't taken out by your spouse's employer, but of course your filed the taxes on your spouse's 1099, since that's the law.

A decent background check would easily point out this sort of deceit.

Just leave this off of your employment history, since you weren't actually employed.

  • 4
    Not sure I'd agree with this. You did the work, if asked about it in an interview you'd be able to talk about it. The chances of them finding out is probably a lot lower than the chances of them ignoring your CV because you have gone 2 years without working. I think put it on if you can do so without putting them as a reference.
    – komodosp
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 14:33
  • 2
    @colmde If they do find out it can kill any chance of a job offer.
    – Donald
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 23:41
  • 2
    @Ramhound as can having done nothing for the last 2 years.
    – komodosp
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 8:51
  • 1
    @colmde People have long breaks in employment for all sorts of reasons. I agree that people with shorter or no breaks in employment have it a lot easier to find jobs. However, having a longer break in employment cannot be treated at par with lying in a job application. By the way, if the OP had so much free time and skills to do their spouse's job for several years, perhaps they could have applied for jobs in that time, including the job that the spouse was "working".
    – Masked Man
    Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 1:10
  • 2
    +1. "Tell me more about this history of deceit you have!"
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 14:00

Check how exactly that job was handled legally.

If it was as an "independent contractor", an essential part of being an independent contractor is that you can let someone else do the work. Your spouse got paid for getting the work done, and you did the work. That would mean that the company paid your spouses company, your spouses company paid any amount of salary to you and your spouse and paid taxes on those salaries, and your spouses company paid dividends from its profit to the owner (your spouse). If this is what you did, then everything is legally fine, you can put the job on your CV, and your spouse's company was the employer.

If your spouse was actually an employee permanently working from home, and got paid with income tax deducted by the company, then the situation is dodgy to say the least.

  • This is by far the best answer. Shame people just upvote whoever joins in scolding the OP.
    – user42272
    Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 1:21
  • Actually this answer is only 4 hours old :) so maybe not. But seriously, it's a shame there isn't an emblem for, "this is actually a new and different answer."
    – user42272
    Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 1:22

I think you'd have to verify things with someone at the company to make sure.

If they know you, there's a chance they'd respond to someone calling positively.

If the first time they're hearing about your possible engagement with them is from someone else, there's a greater risk of it being a negative experience on the phone, as the person will be reeling from the surprise as they respond.


For an adult man/woman there's only a couple potential excuses to mention in CV that you have worked under different or false identities - either you are a retired spy/undercover agent or an artist/writer. I'm not making fun of you, ironically, when I was young I've done exactly the same - I was a journalist, just like my wife. For like half of the year I've been writing reviews on her behalf just for fun (yeah, when you in your early twenties you have a different concept of fun).

My advise for you will be - don't make things complicated - put yourself into potential employer shoes. Hiring someone is a complex process and more non-standard variables are there in the equation, the more complex it's getting and that is not always a good thing.

Just try to end up with listing all the jobs you did not did in the shades.


Unless you need them to provide a reference - you could roll the dice and just put them in.

Your greatest risk is if someone in the hiring space has a direct personal relationship in some fashion. Maybe they worked there - or they know someone well who does and they choose to do a "back channel" chat.

Most reputable recruiters will not contact people who you have not listed as referees, so your chances of getting away with this are pretty good especially if it's not the last thing you have been doing. (Although the way your question reads it seems like it may be)

  • Thanks for the response. To add some more detail: - There is a very, very low chance there is a relationship. This company is based out of the UK even though they have an office/address in the U.S. They don't even list names of contact people on the website. - I have actually had a 'real' job for the last 2 years, and haven't been working at the online job for about 1.5 years, which is why I am not too worried.
    – user62755
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 5:58
  • 2
    Most background checks will call all the listed employers whether you have them as references or not. The only one they omit is the current employer. If you did not work there, then they will not know your name and it will look very bad.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 19:32

I hired multiple times online and if any contractor would contacted me later and told me: "hey, the job I have done (that was probably good because I got hired for two years) was under my spouse name, I would probably answered: "I do not care". And subsequently, if I had more job, probably I will contact you again because you delivered.

I read some comments and I find the statement of "deceive" a little bit "over" because we are talking about online work, where a lot of peoples are working under another personas for good and bad reasons that I will not be the judge for it.

So, as you state, you have two choice:

1) have a blank of two years on your resume and get your resume at the bottom of the pile or state the work (probably happening often)

2) put the work you have done even if it is under another name and if a background check is done completely, two years will mismatch from your resume, you will get rejected (probably not happening often if the business if not a government or a large company)

I think the most important thing for your resume is that you put YOUR experience. You work those two years, you have two years of experience. So state your work, the recruiter/manager/whatever will probably probe your personality/skills by asking questions like how to manage situation X, Y, Z and by your experience, you will be able to get the job.

Good luck!


I would put it under a "Volunteer" or similar section of your resume, not the "Work History" section. As other's have pointed out, yes you did the work and your employer would like to know what your actual skills are so they should know you spent multiple years at their max hours per week. But you did not work for the company and were not on their payroll, you did not work there. Related to this, your wife is likely going to put the same job under her "Work History" the next time she's looking for a job even though she knows you did all the work for those multiple years. You voluntarily did her job, so I would frame it as such.

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