I feel like commercial awareness is something a lot of people tend to overthink. If you’re an over thinker, please don’t find this blog post intimidating. I’m just going to break down what commercial awareness means to me, and how I developed it.
Commercial awareness is simply understanding how a business works. If this doesn’t sound simple to you (because it didn’t to me), think about how money is made. Think about clients, business strategies, and how the wider world is impacting this. Those are my three key factors that I consider when digesting ‘commercial information’.
So how do you actually get commercially aware? What do you do?
Read the news
I subscribe to the Financial Times, but it’s wordy and not for everyone. The BBC or The Economist are also great places to start. When you’re reading through articles, think about why that story is of interest to you, and follow the developments that came before and after – then, if you’re asked about it in an interview, you have a more well-rounded view and you can actually talk about something that interests you.
Subscribe to briefings
Bitesize information delivered to your inbox. Hassle-free and super useful. My ultimate fav is Finimize, but Lexology, WatsonsDaily and LittleLaw are all very informative and easy to read. They are literally written to help you with your commercial awareness, so to be spoon-fed some important developments – definitely sign-up.
Listen to podcasts
Podcasts are AMAZING. Whenever I am doing a job, or have a spare piece of time, I always pop on a podcast. I often to listen to them on dog walks, doing chores or on car journeys. The Commercial Awareness Podcast is soooo good – honestly a 10/10 from me. The Business Update and Commercial Awareness with Watsons Daily come as close second contenders.
Use the firm
If you’re looking for information about a specific firm – read up about them. Read their publications, look at their annual reports and stay up to date with any headlines they are working on. You need to have a well-rounded picture of the firm to be convincing in an interview, having a specific awareness will really help here.
SO that’s how I break down commercial awareness into simple steps. A lot of it is about your mindset, and how you’re thinking about the information you’re reading about or listening to. I hope this has helped!