Do I work for a non-profit if I've taught at the Makerspace?


Sorry for asking, just need to determine if this is appropriate. I’ve been doing job apps and listed some experience at Makerspace teaching 2 courses on something programming/software related and some fab-related tasks I’ve done for individuals on my resume, just because I thought it’d be relevant. Now that I’m along their recruitment process they want info on my most recent employment. I have not been employed in a while since I’m a student and only before in something a teen in highschool/college would do for money. So is it fine to list the makerspace even though I pay dues and half the stuff I’ve done has been for other people. The form asks for no references just for title, address, phone#, and job/position. The pre-interview form just autofilled the makerspace as my most recent employment.

I do not want lie or misinform any affiliation I have at the space, so would it be better to list my other unrelated part time work from years ago?


We do not have any employees but we do have independent contractors as honorarium instructors. You can list things you have done including volunteer classes and contract work you have done including Dallas Makerspace. But no you are not an employee of Dallas Makerspace.


I’d leave the Makerspace, but your title would be Contractor. That will tell any Human Resources person that you weren’t an employee. And, unless you get somebody who wants to, effectively, give you a reference, you’d also be your own supervisor. That way they don’t call DMS expecting us to give you a reference. Given how goofy the phone answering is at DMS, we might make their head explode if they tried to call us to see how your performance was.


haha … true … who knows what rating you would get anyway … we don’t keep track … yet


Since teaching a class is a volunteer opportunity at Dallas Makerspace. One can claim volunteer experience but not work/employment experience.


You can word it in a more positive manner:

I volunteer as a recurring instructor at Dallas Makerspace, an all volunteer run organization of over 2,200 dues paying members. Courses taught include: XX, YY, and ZZ.

I personally had an interviewer ask me: “Tell me about this Dallas Makerspace you have listed?” It’s real value is that it shows an outside life, you are capable speaking before people, have organizational skills, can impart knowledge, and a team player. If it opens a dialog it has made you stick out in their mind.

As a prior interviewer and hiring manager, the “unusual” item will pique interest.

Good luck.


It is volunteering if one teaches a class for free. If one teaches a class and receives an honorarium, and therefore receives a 1099.


An honorarium is not a salary, and honorarium-compensated instructors are no more employed by DMS than is a honorarium-compensated Keynote Speaker at a high school/college graduation.


@HankCowdog yup I agree. I left off part of my reply, but was replying to @denzuko that some instructors are not volunteers, some are contractors,


Wouldn’t say contractors since they’re not employed in any fashion by DMS thus meaning those on 1099 are self employed. And even that is a very bold stretch which has no endorsement or legs to stand on.


Let’s say you claim employment. You’ll probably need to supply the usual details - title, compensation, contact details. HR will want to follow up: phone will be preferred but that’s pot luck. Assuming they reach someone, what are the odds they provide a satisfactorily prompt and concise response? E-mail route is more likely to reach someone that can respond but will be slow and still isn’t likely to produce the kind of routine verification response that HR is apt to be looking for.

No, I’d claim it as a volunteering activity. The pressures to verify are markedly lower and it likely makes for far better talking points during an interview. It makes for a great segue into the various things you’ve done at DMS that might be relevant to the employer.


I don’t think they qualify as contractors either. 1099’s are used for reporting income from a variety of sources and the receipt of said form does not define a contractor relationship.

The IRS web site says a 1099 is used to:

  • Report payments made in the course of a trade or business to a person who’s not an employee or to an unincorporated business.


Data trumps opinion every time.

:slight_smile: Thanks for the link.


One important thing I haven’t seen listed here is references.
Those who took your class, DMS members, etc.
Ask first before using their name!


Nothing wrong with gap in employment during school college, it’s not a negative: you were doing something positive with time. If you were teaching at DMS, this shows involvement and the characteristics I mentioned before.

DO NOT MINIMIZE non-glamorous jobs. Entry-level, even minimum wage jobs are important. They demonstrate valuable work skills: You can get up and show-up to work on time, you can follow instructions, you can work with others, you aren’t afraid to work. Low skill jobs during college are norm - they provide flexible work hours, near school, etc. and they show a work ethic.

They also show you don’t have a prima donna attitude: “Oh that’s beneath me.” Every job I’ve had in my professional life always has in the job description “…and other duties as assigned.” As the new guy, you’ll get some scut work.

Fairly or unfairly, the current younger generation is pretty much labeled as lazy with an entitlement mentality. Those jobs show you are not one of them.

2015-2016: Wow-a-burger. General counter and kitchen duties, flexible scheduling around college classes. That says why you were there and why you had different ones: scheduling to reach bigger goal of college.


A contractor is specifically self-employed. Every one who receives a 1099-MISC with Box 7 income is self-employed. Just because the role at DMS is more loosy-goosy than the normal contractor role doesn’t make the person any more or less a contractor.

Still – @ESmith has it the most correct. No one at DMS is likely to give the kind of reference that they would expect from employment, so the volunteering thing probably works best.