This is a competency that is particularly sought out by private sector employers. I recently heard of a leading recruitment agency that uses two questionnaires to filter candidates; one is titled ‘Competencies’ the other is called ‘Commercial Awareness’. Just one example of the extra focus given to this key competency.
So how should you demonstrate your commercial savviness? Here are a few thoughts:
- Sprinkle a few £ signs about your CV. So if you helped raise money for a charity don’t hesitate to say how much money you delivered. Then develop a financial narrative around this figure in preparation for your interview.
- Establish that it is in your psyche to think commercially. Employers look for individuals who appear instinctively commercial and are weary of individuals who have never had to earn their way. As well as demonstrating how you keep abreast with business news you should illustrate how news stories inspire your commercial thinking. You might consider keeping a diary of your thoughts.
- Describe work experience in commercial terms. Even your more mundane jobs can provide you with a foil to talk about commercial insights. If you were a waiter you might talk about the commercial viability of the restaurant and the specific challenges of seasonal trade.
- Demonstrate your commercial understanding of the job role. You should understand how the job you are applying for connects with the different functions within the organisation. Christopher Stokes gives a good description of the different organisational functions within a company in his book on Commercial Awareness. It’s a good book to read.
5. Practice stepping into the commercial shoes of your future employer. Begin to think of their commercial targets as your own – and learn how to demonstrate a touch of emotional engagement with these goals. Your future employer needs to feel that you will genuinely embrace their corporate challenges and pump your fists as you and your teammates nail them.