Skills to Enter the Profession

What skills do I need to enter the profession?

A contract manager's skills are developed through continuing education and practice. A successful contract manager has developed skills in three main areas: technical, conceptual, and human relations. Almost 44% of NCMA members have a general business background; other common areas of studies include law, contracting, liberal arts, accounting, STEM courses, public affairs, management, and more. Contracts are created between buyers and sellers.  There are contract managers on both sides of the table.

Technical skills are demonstrated by competently performing the tasks required, such as: 

• preparing and issuing solicitations,
• preparing bids and proposals,
• preparing or analyzing terms and conditions, and
• analyzing procurement requirements and supplier capabilities.

Training for these skills can be accomplished in degree, certificate, professional continuing education, or specialized programs.

Conceptual skills relate to the manner in which the contract manager visualizes the contract's organization in terms of the agency's or company's goals. These skills involve the ability to see and use the "big picture" for greater organizational and personal success.

Human relations skills focus on the "people" aspect of contract management. Effective performance requires the cooperation of many others over whom the contract manager has little or no organizational control. Dealing with government and contractor representatives from a diverse range of disciplines requires strong relational and communication skills. Many contract managers consider competency in human relations to be the most important skill for the future of their jobs and careers.