Sometimes it actually is what you know, not who you know!

I went along to a Skills for Success session run by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the largest of the ‘big 4’ accountancy firms, and presented by a recent history graduate from The University of York who works in the auditing sector.  The session focused on commercial awareness; a person’s knowledge of the industry and companies that they are interested in applying for jobs and working within. In the presentation the speaker outlined some business fundamentals that are key to establishing a good level of commercial awareness, and also encouraged us to participate by getting us to name the different types of businesses that exist. The presenter also explained the different areas within PwC and showed that there are many diverse jobs available.

The session highlighted the importance of demonstrating your commercial awareness to a prospective employer by having a broad knowledge of recent news stories within the industry. The presenter used an interview example, whereby the interviewer asked the applicant to talk about a recent event relating to the industry and how this affected their company. Commercial awareness is crucial in the application process. By thoroughly researching a specific organisation, and their competitors, you can be more successful!

Commercial awareness does not specifically come from having a degree in the field you are applying for, it is more about showing an understanding and interest in how the industry operates. The session highlighted work experience as an important tool in increasing commercial awareness and showing employers your enthusiasm for working in that industry. Increasing my commercial awareness through internships and/or placements is an idea that I have definitely taken away from the Skills for Success session, and will look to carry out before applying for graduate jobs.

Rennie (Student Blogger) 

For more tips on improving your commercial awareness, check out our online talk.
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