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Contract Administration Skills
Contract administrators are employed in a variety of industries. Administrators commonly specialize in a particular area of the profession such as government contracts, commercial contracts, logistics and related functions. Key areas of the job include negotiating, reviewing documents and administrative accountability. Obtaining a bachelors degree in contract administration is a viable way to begin a career in this profession. Employers hire candidates who are detailed oriented and possess highly developed skills.
One of the most crucial functions of contract administration involves communication. Successful candidates must excel in this area. Administrators are responsible for drafting documents, preparing proposals and coordinating with all parties involved in the contractual agreement. Oftentimes these professionals are called upon to communicate policy. Contract professionals have a wide scope of individuals to communicate with on a routine basis. Customers, cross-functional teams and suppliers all interface with these professionals. Presentation skills are also important in performing this function.
Experienced administrators have negotiation responsibilities requiring savvy strategies. Contracts can be very complex. Coming to terms with agreements involves skill. Prior to residing in contract negotiations, an administrator spends time analyzing requirements. During the negation meeting, these professionals must ask for what is needed and make a case for why it should be given. This requires direct communication and a sense of fairness and equitability. Administrators negotiate with tact and diplomacy, but stand their ground on key points.
Keeping abreast of new regulations impacting the contract function is also a part of the job. Administrators must analyze corporate policies and laws that pertain to specific contracts. Reviewing contracts means spending time understanding special provisions, requirements and conditions to make sure they comply with legislation and follow the appropriate procedures. Administrators must be astute in business practices, have a grasp of financial issues and practice sound judgment. Problem solving is important. Individuals with finely tuned analytical skills are quick to come up with solutions and recommendations.
Dealing with complex documents in a fast paced environment requires organizational ability. Tracking changes and monitoring the contracts in different phases is one of the core duties assumed by contract administrators. Staying organized and in control of the numerous details takes focus. Administrators must be pro-active.
Working with cross-functional teams requires leadership capability. The contract process involves individuals with different styles and personalities. Administrators must have strong team-building skills. Knowing how to resolve issues between team members and other key personnel is part of being a respected leader. The power of influence plays a role in dealing with peers and senior level management. Managing change is also high on the list of job responsibilities. Contract administrators placed in a supervisory role spend time mentoring and training subordinates. They must also exercise good judgment in selecting new members for the team.
Jan Simon is a career and life coach with more than 20 years of experience in corporate human resources. She holds a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University. Simon enjoys writing career articles and is a columnist for the CV Weekly. She also publishes a weekly blog called Life on the Sunny Side.
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