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Commercial awareness

Commercial awareness

Commercial awareness

What is commercial awareness?

Commercial awareness is an understanding of how an organisation works and how outside factors influence it. 

Commercial awareness of one industry sector could be quite different to commercial awareness of another sector.

Why is it important?

It is important that you understand how your individual role fits with the organisation's objectives. To do this, you need to understand how the business operates and which outside influences are likely to affect it. These may include the economic climate, new legislation, new technology and competitors' activity. 

What do you need to know?

About the organisation:

  • What does the organisation do?
  • What is its purpose and mission statement?
  • Who are its stakeholders, customers, suppliers and competitors?
  • To which policies or legislation does it adhere?

About the sector:

  • What current and likely future issues does the organisation face?
  • Which factors influence the sector - global economic conditions, legislation, new technology, what risks do they face?

About the wider business world:

  • Be knowledgeable about the business world in general and understand how one sector can affect another. 

How can you develop your commercial awareness?

There are lots of ways to develop your commercial awareness:

  • Research the organisation thoroughly, not only from their website but also from news articles about the company.
  • Attend careers fairs and employer presentations and use the opportunity to ask employees about their business. 
  • Use social media to follow news and trends in specific sectors and to network with people working in your preferred industry.

How we can help you

The Careers Centre has resources on a wide range of occupations. We run workshops on commercial awareness and can advise you on setting up a professional online profile.