If you're interested in contract administrator jobs, your timing couldn't be better.

Contract administrators manage a crucial function in law firms and corporate legal departments. They draft and negotiate new contracts, solve conflicts that arise from existing contracts and oversee the closeout process when a contract has been fulfilled.

They also put strong technical skills to work while managing the contract database and using other programs to create contract boilerplates, track progress toward contractual obligations, and ensure contractor payments are accurate and on time.

So it's no wonder that demand for these professionals in the legal field is growing. If you're one of them, this strong demand might have you leaning toward looking for a job with a new company. But how will you know if it's the right opportunity? Here are a few things to consider as you're interviewing and searching for new contract administrator jobs:

Salary and benefits

Before you head into interviews, explore the Robert Half Salary Guide to find out what other contract administrator jobs in your region are paying. That way, if you get an offer, you'll immediately know if it's competitive.

Don't look only at the annual salary, though. Factor in the medical, dental and retirement benefits, along with any other perks you might be getting, such as free food or telecommuting. The benefits might be good enough to justify taking a slightly lower salary than you expected.

Opportunities for career growth

With enough years of experience and expertise, employees in contract administrator jobs can become contract managers. If career advancement is important to you, make sure the contract department is large enough to allow you to move up and that the company is open to promoting from within.

Also ensure that the firm is willing to invest in training. New technological tools for managing databases and creating contracts are constantly being developed, and you want to make sure you can keep up with any changes that will make you more efficient and better at your job.

Read the Future Law Office report Technology Reshapes the Legal Support Profession.

The firm's mission and culture

As you evaluate contract administrator jobs, set aside time to learn about the organization's mission. If you believe in the firm's principles and goals, you're more likely to work hard and enjoy your job.

Also find out what you can about the company culture. If you prefer a more casual, easygoing workplace, you'll likely find it difficult to thrive in an office where suits are required and the hierarchy is so strict that partners rarely leave their top floor offices to consult with associates and legal support professionals.

The structure of the contracts and procurement department

Finally, try to learn about the staffing structure and technical capabilities of the specific department you'd be joining. You want to be sure that there's a well-equipped support staff in place to help you create and track contracts, as well as the IT tools necessary to do your job effectively.

Searching for contract administrator jobs can be exciting, but it can also be nerve-wracking when you're worried about whether you're doing the right thing. If you keep these things in mind throughout the job search and hiring process, you'll be more likely to choose the opportunity that fits your abilities, ambitions and working style.

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