Commercial Awareness

Many graduate employers have highlighted commercial awareness as a skill that is in short supply amongst graduates. A commercially aware graduate has an understanding of:

  • the business environment that the employer operates within.
  • the needs and desires of the customer.
  • how they, as a graduate, ‘add value’ to the business
How to develop commercial awareness?
Networking is an essential skill to learn. It can help build up your knowledge of different careers and even find you a job. Beyond this, it is an important skill that will help you manage your career in the future. Many jobs require the use of a professional network and employers value this skill in graduates.You can use your network to talk to people about their jobs. This can be a great help to you in deciding on a career. By interviewing people doing work that you find interesting, you can get a specific, personal and up-to-date view. Observing people in their workplace is the most effective way to find out whether you would like the job or not.

Getting started
  • To find out about a career in personnel by talking to a family friend who works as a human resources manager in a local business.
  • To get advice on your CV from somebody already in the job you are seeking.
  • To find out if there are any work experience opportunities in chemical engineering.
  • To find a graduate position.
Some of the people you meet along the way may provide support to you as well as advice and information. Sometimes you will hear people refer to their mentor or coach. Remember that some people in your network may take on this role for you. If they do, you will find them an invaluable help in your move from your current situation to your new career.



In your assessment form you will be asked to look at an employer you are interested in and explain what you know about the organisation and the industry more broadly.

  • What do you know about the industry more broadly?
  • What do you know about the employer specifically?


This does not form part of your assessment but is a useful activity to try out just how commercially aware you are. The Careers Service at The Univeristy of Manchester has a great quiz on commercial awareness, have a go here

What employers look for (Careers and Employability Service, The University of Nottingham)
Commercial awareness (Careers Service, The University of Manchester)
Commercial Awareness Podcasts (ACCA)

This page uses an image from the Open Clip Art Library page "Marqueur / Marker", which is available under the CC0 PD Dedication