Commercial awareness is an understanding of how industries and businesses work. It’s about knowing what’s going on in the world and analysing the way it might impact your chosen sector and company. Being commercially aware is a core skill that most employers look for, particularly in the application and interview stage, so it’s essential that you’re aware of what it is and how it can help you stand out in the application process.
Which sectors look for commercial awareness?
If you’re thinking about Law, for example, you’ll need to know how the legal sector operates, who the major players are, what recent economic, political or regulatory changes might have impacted the industry and what emerging challenges or opportunities for the industry might be.
If it’s Marketing, advertising or media in which you’re interested, you’ll need to know the latest advertising deals, the success of recent campaigns and movements within the industry.
As a Bright Network member, you can sign up to receive weekly updates straight to your email inbox by heading to your career preferences section and ticking the Weekly Commercial Awareness Updates box.
Where might commercial awareness come up?
Commercial awareness can come up at any stage of the application process, from interviews and assessment centres, to application forms themselves. It’s important to know how you can display your commercial awareness at each stage so you have all the chances of impressing an employer.
Read: How to demonstrate your commercial awareness and put your knowledge to good use.
Why is commercial awareness important?
Leading graduate employers expect you to have strong commercial awareness. On application forms and at interviews, firms are likely to test your knowledge of the sector and the environment the company works in. The strongest candidates will have a clear understanding of how the changes in the business world impact on the firm. Plus, fully understanding their challenges and the marketplace they operate in isn’t just useful during the application – it will give you the upper hand when starting at the firm.
A recent survey by the Associate of Graduate Recruiters found leading firms believe commercial awareness was the number one skill graduates lacked the most. If you feel you need to improve your commercial awareness, listen to 'Thinking Commercially', Bright Network's commercial awareness podcast with Chris Stoakes. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts.
Five reasons why commercial awareness is useful...
- Can help you become an expert in the industry or businesses you’re interested in.
- Allow you to intelligently speculate the future of an industry.
- Help you predict future trends by having an understanding of the past.
- Understand the marketplace.
- Have knowledge of the top players or competitors in your sector or business.
Want to improve your commercial awareness? Here's six ways you can get started with right away.
Take the Bright Network Academy Commercial Awareness course delivered by a commercial awareness expert and author, Chris Stoakes to learn how to develop your awareness and more.