Being a government contractor, including for the Department of Defense (DoD), requires a comprehensive portfolio of skills and qualifications. Regardless of the organization or office, the following desirable qualifications can guarantee a successful and productive career. Listed below is an entire alphabet of skills and qualifications that make a successful contractor.


Situational awareness is a skill that requires maturity, experience, and the ability to focus on what’s going on in the moment.


Being a contractor is not for the faint-hearted. Successful contractors show boldness of thoughts and ideas and aren’t timid about sharing their knowledge with their supervisors.


Contractors must be able to collaborate and work with their team and other government employees.


Being dedicated to a project and client means putting forth the extra effort needed to get the job done.


Successful contractors will be enterprising in all their endeavors.


Without flexibility, a contractor will fail.


Generosity with time, ideas, and assistance is absolutely required to be successful in the government contracting world.


The most successful contractors know if you’re great you don’t have to tell anyone, they will already know by your work.


If a contractor has good ideas to share, they will be invaluable to their client.


Making the right decisions and reaching solid conclusions shows a contractor has sound judgment.


An energetic, spirited contractor is a valued asset to any organization or team.


If you work as a government contractor, especially if you hold a clearance, being law-abiding is an absolute requirement.


Being able to manage work and/or people is a highly desired skill for a government contractor.


A valuable skill, a notable contractor stands out and is worthy of recognition for good work.


The ability to observe and learn are two key elements to success in the contractor world.


Always an important skill, even more important if you work with military staff who view punctuality very seriously and expect everyone to do the same.

Questions and Answers

Asking the right questions, and knowing the right answers is the sign of a person who listens and learns.


Showing respect to all members of an office, and especially those of high rank and leadership, is an absolute must for government contractors, especially those whose jobs require them to interact with senior government leaders and personnel.


Contractors who are always learning and increasing their knowledge and capabilities are valued and respected by their supervisors and co-workers.


An untrustworthy person will not last as a government contractor, especially those with a clearance. Trust is essential when sensitive or classified work is being performed.


The best co-workers, leaders, and contractors are unpretentious and down-to-earth people, regardless of their position.


Having something valuable to say and share is a sign of confidence and maturity.


The most successful and sought after contractors are well-rounded and have varied skills and talents.

eXellence (I’m being creative)

If a contractor can maintain a level of excellence in their work, attitude, and productivity, nothing will get in their way.


A positive attitude, saying YES instead of NO, can go a long way, especially as a government contractor. Finding solutions where others have failed goes a long way.


Having a job you love, a great team to work with, and giving back to an organization you believe in will make any government contractor feel excited and zealous about their job.


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Diana M. Rodriguez is a native Washingtonian who works as a professional freelance writer, commentator, and blogger; as well as a public affairs, website content and social media manager for the Department of Defense.