Not only can public engagement add important lines to a CV, it can also help researchers polish certain needed skills, writes Heather Doran, a project officer in public engagement with research at the University of Aberdeen, at the Nature Jobs Blog.
For example, she says that presenting work to different audiences, such as at a secondary school, another public forum, or to researchers outside their main field, can boost researchers' confidence and help them learn to discuss their work in a way that is generally understandable. "Learning to communicate with those outside your research field clearly about your work can also help create two-way conversations and may shape and lead to new research projects," Doran adds.
Additionally, such skills will come in handy when hunting for a job. "After all, the best way to demonstrate to potential employers, both academic and non-academic that you have gained these translational skills is by providing specific examples of how you have used them," she adds.