Contingent Offer Letters: a Win-Win Situation

April 10th, 2018 Team TSI

Attention Federal, State, Military and Local job seekers! Have you ever stumbled upon an ad for that perfect job only to find out it is “contingent on contract award?” Good news: If your resume is chosen, you’ll have high-visibility and job prospects from the outset! You may have the chance to even help write your own golden ticket. You may get to have input on how a team is structured, your position, and those who could work around you.

While you may be tempted to write these contingent ads off, think again! Employers in the industry post these types of ads often and for good reason. Here is why you should not pass these up:

If a company chooses your resume and does not win a contract, there is now a new positive relationship with that company – a bridge. Companies save resumes and could call you for future work. Additionally, if they win and your resume is not picked from the beginning, you could receive a call when additional positions are added to teams or currently performing personnel retire, move, or leave -which happens all the time. You may even get called for a whole new piece of work in the near future just because your resume is already “in-hand”.

Job ads are posted for current and future-contract work because customers often desire high performing personnel with relevant knowledge. Whether the customer wants new staff or incumbent staff, the customer most often wants to have choices. Many times, experienced personnel in the field are top candidates. However, the customer can reorganize. This happens when new leadership rotates into offices. It also happens as new technology changes the way people work, and, the way work flows. New work where new responsibilities are formed require new teams even when incumbent staff are reallocated to different positions. People who have already been in the industry may need to join a different team in a new way from how they worked in the past. Many times current work is separated into new categories and sent to new or different departments as leaders strive to stay effective or be more efficient. Companies seeking qualified and experienced individuals (like you) may include resumes into their contract bids. They will designate these job ads as “contingent on contract award.” Do not pass up on these ads! This is a win-win opportunity for you to apply if you are qualified.

Do you know that all contract work will sooner or later come up for recompete? Should you pass up on applying for the position or lending your resume to a potential competitor? Definitely not. While company loyalty is a virtue, what happens if your current company does not win or even recompete? Perhaps another company takes over the work? Your confidence in bureaucracy has put you in a difficult position. Consider yourself a “free agent” as a potential employee during any contract company contest. In this way, you will put yourself more in control so your skills and experiences can be valued more fully.

Last, it is important to keep in mind companies carefully plan time and resources they spend to bid on work. There are literally hundreds of thousands of opportunities “out there.” If a company has taken the risk to pursue an opportunity, realize that they are serious about winning and performing with excellence.

In sum, the next time you see “contingent on contract award,” apply for the position. If you are called by the company, interview. Seek to build relationships. By making this small investment in the future, you are securing for yourself a higher probability for employment and compensation.


Ben Palka graduated from the State University College at Buffalo State with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and earned a Master of Theology from Southeastern Baptist. Benjamin has worked overseas and domestically in communication, community development, recruitment, religious education, business, and research. He is interested in the intersection of statecraft, theology, and interpersonal communication. He has proven experience providing ideological and theological analyses and assessments.