Contract Manager Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

Contract Managers, or Contract Administrators, are responsible for preparing, negotiating and recording business contracts on behalf of their employer. Their duties include researching a contract’s terms, alerting parties to renewals or extensions and tracking all communications between their employer and various accounts.

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Contract Manager Duties and Responsibilities

As the name would suggest, a Contract Manager is primarily responsible for managing all contracts that their employer is negotiating and entering. Contract Managers have to be shrewd, and knowledgeable about the details and potential benefits of any contract, and must fulfill the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Craft, evaluate, negotiate and execute a wide variety of different contracts covering a range of transactions.
  • Create and maintain relationships with suppliers and serve as the singular point of contact for matters concerning contracts.
  • Maintain records for correspondence and documentation in relation to established contracts and those in progress.
  • Communicate and present information to stakeholders about all contract-related matters.
  • Monitor contracts and move forward with close-out, extension or renewal according to what’s best for the company.
  • Solve any contract-related problems that may arise with other parties and internally with the company itself.

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What Does a Contract Manager Do?

Contract Managers can work at any employer that enters into a binding agreement with another party to manage documents and correspondence related to their business relationship. They use legal and financial terminology to draft detailed documents explaining business propositions. Contract Managers collaborate with department leaders to set budgets and determine timelines. They meet with potential clients, vendors, distributors and partners to develop a professional relationship and negotiate the term of each agreement. The Contract Manager’s role is to provide a consistent point of contact for both internal employees and external parties to plan, update and execute legal agreements.

Contract Manager Skills and Qualifications

An effective Contract Manager requires numerous skills and qualifications to successfully fulfill the necessary duties and responsibilities of the position. Contract Managers have to excel when it comes to negotiation, communication and documentation, so the following skills are absolutely necessary for the position:

  • Communication: A Contract Manager must be able to communicate ideas effectively to the company, to the other parties involved in the contract and to stakeholders to keep everyone apprised of contract-related matters.
  • Negotiation: Negotiation is essential for a Contract Manager, as it’s their job to get the most benefit to the company possible out of any contract considered.
  • Confidence: A key aspect of successful contract management is confidence. It takes a strong attitude to successfully negotiate and execute contracts, as well as an understanding of when to walk away and when to stand one’s ground.
  • Finance Skills: In order to evaluate whether or not a contract is good for the company, a Contract Manager must have the necessary financial skills to determine exactly how the company would benefit.

Contract Manager Salary Expectations

The average salary for a Contract Manager is $77,660 per year. Many companies also include a profit-sharing plan for their Contract Managers, which could increase earnings by about $9,500 a year depending on the success of the negotiated contracts.

Contract Manager Education and Training Requirements

A Contract Manager position has extensive education and training requirements. Having a master’s degree in business administration is preferred, but a bachelor’s degree in business is virtually a necessity. Depending on the kind of contracts the manager would be engaging in, there may also be several certification requirements. These include certifications for commercial, professional and federal contracts as provided by the National Contract Management Association.

Contract Manager Experience Requirements

Most general Contract Manager positions require several years’ worth of experience actively negotiating contracts, though experience in related positions can suffice as well. For entry-level positions, however, one can become a Contract Manager with general management or administration experience coupled with the necessary business school education with a focus on contract negotiation.

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

You should be able to use this Contract Manager job description sample for your available position with a few tweaks. If your position varies a bit too much, however, these related jobs may be better suited for your needs:

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Frequently asked questions about Contract Managers

 

What is the difference between a Contract Manager and an Account Manager?

Contract Managers and Account Managers can work closely together to communicate about the status of a business relationship. Contract Managers work primarily with confirming a business agreement and re-visiting a contract once its terms are coming to a close, while Account Managers handle the financial transactions related to a business transaction. For example, a Contract Manager would prepare the business-client agreement and help decide on the terms of a purchase, while the Account Manager would send invoices, handle payments and communicate with clients about the project details. Account Managers collaborate with Contract Managers to enforce the terms of a contract.

 

What makes a good Contract Manager?

Good Contract Managers have an in-depth understanding of legal terminology and are able to explain complex jargon to their colleagues in simple terms to ensure that all parties understand what they are agreeing to when signing a contract. Successful Contract Managers are passionate about risk management and can foresee the possible consequences of different agreements, allowing them to advise their employer and mitigate negative consequences. They are also excellent at time management and act with a sense of urgency to coordinate updates to a contract in a timely manner without missing deadlines or losing a client’s interest.

 

What are the daily duties of a Contract Manager?

Contract Managers are involved with all aspects of contract creation. They might initiate a project by speaking with a possible business partner about their needs and expectations, then determining what schedule, budget and other agreements would create a mutually beneficial situation for their employer and the client. They research any unfamiliar requests and prepare a document that uses legal terminology to confirm the client request. Contract Managers may go through several iterations of one contract to create a document that both parties agree to. They record any changes, have the contract notarized and store it for safekeeping.

 

What should you look for on a Contract Manager's resume?

A Contract Manager’s resume should include experience managing, preparing and writing legal documents. It should emphasize customer service skills like communication and relationship management to show that the candidate is able to professionally represent the company. Industry-specific experience is also important for understanding the specific compliance requirements your business must adhere to.

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    Last updated: Apr 28, 2021