Commercial awareness

All employers look for graduates who have a thorough understanding of the sector they work in. Naturally, this takes time but there are things you can do to get a head start.

What is Commercial awareness? 

Commercial awareness is: 

  • Knowledge of the sector

  • Awareness of the organisation's mission and values 

  • Understanding of the main challenges and trends affecting the organisation 

  • The ability to adapt your skills and knowledge to be best for the business 

The discussion below highlights the value of commercial awareness and how you can develop it, irrespective of the sector you are in.  

“Commercial awareness - A professional behaviours discussion”  

How can you develop Commercial awareness? 

You can start by setting some time apart each day to:  

  1. Read industry specific articles

  2. Get involved in a discussion on LinkedIn  

  3. Look through a preferred company’s Twitter timeline

The article below describes how you can use social media to improve your commercial awareness.  

Use social media to grow commercial awareness (University of Edinburgh login required)

Quick resource checklist 

Have you looked at the following possible sources?  

  1. Annual reports often provide useful detail into the financial and business performance of the company. They provide strategy information and growth plans too. Although they can be filled with jargon, they are a good starting point.  

  2. Speak to friends or family that work in the sector. Often this can help give a clearer and importantly realistic understanding of the sector. 

  3. Innovative companies often provide thoughts on what future market trends are and what they might look like in industry publications.  

  4. Subscribing to thought leaders' LinkedIn and Twitter pages. The most influential organisations in the sector publish blogs and articles about challenges and opportunities within the sector.  

Additional resources 

5 tips to improve commercial awareness (University of Edinburgh login required - If you are experiencing difficulty with logging in please contact