Being commercially aware is vitally important to your career prospects, no matter what part of the organisation you’re hoping to work within. Being able to demonstrate an awareness of the company’s wider environment and how it impacts its customers, supply chain and the industry is key to demonstrating your worth as a candidate.
So how can you become more commercially aware? And more importantly, how do you get that across in the interview?
1. Be aware of current events and news
The wider world impacts different sectors in different ways, with political changes, fluctuations in the price of commodities including oil and fuel, and shortages in skills or supply of specific products (such as bricks).
Reading the business pages of the national newspapers is one way to keep an eye on these changes. It can also be helpful to set up Google Alerts for more sector specific news direct to your inbox. Set aside some time every day to browse the news and get a grasp on what’s going on in the world and in your industry.
2. Understand key commercial concepts
Being able to understand the different financial structures and how they impact the company’s success and lifespan is another impressive way to demonstrate your commercial awareness. Get a grasp on things like cash flow, profit margins and business equity lending, and you’ll be able to confidently discuss these if they come up at interview stage.
3. Understand the employer’s strengths and weaknesses
As well as understanding the wider issues, it’s important to also have a grasp on what the company itself is up against. In what ways do they excel and succeed, and in what ways do they have gaps or weak points that need addressing?
Commercial awareness is simply taking an interest in the sector you work in and how it impacts your employer. It doesn’t have to be time consuming and you don’t need a business degree to grasp the basics and impress a potential employer.