When an employer says they are looking for candidates with commercial awareness they mean they want people who have a thorough understanding of the organisation and the market it operates in. This includes knowing about the business’ mission and core operations, its competitors, any challenges it may be facing and market trends that may be affecting it.
This may seem like a lot of information to get to grips with, but it’s less about relentless revision and more about setting aside time regularly to keep up to date on the latest news and developments. One easy way to do this is by using social media.
Most companies have multiple social media pages, usually including LinkedIn and often also Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
LinkedIn is a great place to start to find out more about a business. The ‘About’ section on their page will include a lot of the basic info you will be expected to know such as their core message, size, where they’re located and how many staff they have. In the ‘Life’ section you may find information about key people in the company, who may be sharing interesting company and industry insights on their page and may, therefore, be worth connecting with. This section may also link you to useful company publications that can tell you more about recent developments and employee insights.
Don’t just focus all your attention on LinkedIn though; some companies may be more active on other channels such as the ones mentioned above. Twitter and Facebook are often used to share company news such as product launches as well as best practice or discussions of current market trends. Reposted content may lead you to other potentially valuable sources, while discussions below posts or on their newsfeed may also provide food for thought.
Aside from company-specific information, social media can also help you to grow your understanding of the industry an organisation operates in. LinkedIn allows you to ‘follow’ certain hashtags – whether that’s ‘theatre’, ‘UX design’ or ‘nursing’ – and will highlight related content on your timeline. You can also join industry-specific groups to chat with other professionals.
On platforms like Facebook or Twitter you can follow news outlets, many of which have separate pages for specific industries – The Guardian runs Guardian Money on Twitter for finance news, for example. You could also follow industry bodies and associations, such as The Law Society. Whenever you start following a profile on Twitter, make sure you check out the ‘You might like’ section for other potentially relevant pages. Facebook has a similar ‘Related pages’ column on all brand or company profiles.
Like most things, building your commercial awareness takes time and effort. So set some time apart each day to read a few industry-specific articles, get involved in a discussion on LinkedIn or look through a preferred company’s Twitter timeline. It’ll become part of your social media routine before you know it!
Source: HN Global