Volunteering in the arts: How it Can Beef up Your CV

4 minute read

Landing a job in the arts can be difficult, with paid opportunities few and far between. Employers in the field will typically expect prior experience in the sector to even consider an application, leading to a frustrating scenario for those without the desired background. However, there is a way beef up your CV with highly relevant and sought-after experience without taking on a paying role. We’re handing over to Ella from Inspiring Interns, who explains how volunteering for an arts charity can be an excellent opportunity.

There are a plethora of opportunities out there for people willing to volunteer in the arts. Because the work is unpaid, the barriers to entry are usually much lower, giving those without experience a welcome foot in the door.

That’s exactly what worked for me. I always knew I wanted to work in the arts – I play the guitar, sing, and have a passion for performing. But finding a paid position turned out to be impossible due to my lack of experience. I applied for a voluntary administrative role with a local theatre and, once the team found out I had musical skills, they offered me work writing music for their live shows. This role aligned perfectly with my passions and got me the experience I needed to progress in the industry.

Why volunteer in the arts?

It boosts confidence.

Taking on a role in this sector will give you first-hand experience of working in a creative environment. Whether it’s performing or supporting activities behind the scenes, you are sure to gain confidence in your own abilities.

You get to be creative.

If you are considering working in the arts, chances are you are naturally creative. Volunteering in the arts opens several creative roles you can get involved in, demonstrating to an employer you have this important skill.

It’s rewarding.

Helping other people without the expectation of a monetary reward is a highly fulfilling experience. It gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment that in turn boosts your happiness.

You feel part of the community.

Volunteering can help you to have a valuable positive effect on your local community and society in general.

Having the right qualifications will undoubtedly help you land the role of your dreams, but my own experience of gaining real-world skills has opened doors for me that would otherwise have remained shut.

Examples of roles available in the arts

Stewarding and ticket office work.

If you are keen to gain some customer-facing experience, you should consider taking on a role as a steward or ticket seller in your local theatre. You’ll be meeting and greeting customers, answering their queries, and showcasing your ability to communicate clearly and confidently. As well as bolstering your CV for roles in the arts, these skills are transferable to any service-based industry.

PR and Marketing.

There’s plenty to get involved in when it comes to the business side of the arts. Plays and shows need promoting, galleries need advertising, and social media accounts need updating.  Taking on a voluntary role is a fantastic way to gain experience in marketing outside of a corporate environment.

Many art venues would relish an extra pair of hands in this department, whether it be increasing their online presence through email newsletters and social media or through traditional means such as advertising.


It takes a village to pull a show together. As well as the performers, script-writers, musicians, costume makers, sound engineers and props managers are just some of the people needed to fulfil the specialised jobs backstage. Experience in these roles – whether or not this comes through voluntary work – is highly sought after and can help you to forge a career in your area of interest.

Curation and research.

Curation in the arts is much more than stocking shelves with display items. It takes an array of skills to do the job effectively, from budgeting to project management as well as the ability to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders. Also in demand are those with research skills – the ability to sift through reams of data and information and find the facts that are relevant and interesting.

Tour guide.

Museums and galleries will always need enthusiastic and engaging people to perform guided tours, and the smaller outfits are often on the lookout for volunteers. If you fancy escorting tourists around sites and delivering informative presentations about the history and purpose of the venue you work for, this could be the role for you.

Having the right qualifications will undoubtedly help you land the role of your dreams, but my own experience of gaining real-world skills has opened doors for me that would otherwise have remained shut.

Volunteering in the arts will give you the valuable experience you need to establish a career in a highly competitive industry. You’ll get to showcase and hone your creative skills, gain confidence in yourself, and experience the rewarding feeling of giving back to your community.

Take a look at the inspiring volunteer roles in the arts live on CharityJob now and start building experience.

Ella Patenall

Ella Patenall is a content writer for Inspiring Interns. In her spare time she enjoys playing guitar in an acoustic duo, kickboxing and volunteering at her local theatre.

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