US Department of State

  www.state.gov
  www.state.gov

US Department of State Reviews

Updated 17 October, 2014
Updated 17 October, 2014
349 Reviews
3.9
349 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
94 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • See the world while serving your country (in 14 reviews)

  • If you work for the Foreign Service, you get to see the world in so many meaningful ways (in 28 reviews)


Cons
  • The biggest turn off for me were actually the foreign service officers (in 31 reviews)

  • This can dramatically impact work-life balance for years at a time (in 10 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Itern

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State as an intern

    Pros

    Great way to get a feeling for how the organization operates. Build a knowledge of the organizational structure.

    Cons

    You are limited in your portfolio. There wasn't enough time to see a project from start to completion.

  2.  

    Big Government in a Small Department

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Program Analyst in Washington, DC (US)
    Current Employee - Program Analyst in Washington, DC (US)

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Unique opportunities to see exotic parts of the world
    Dynamic environment
    Critical function in providing diplomacy for the U.S.
    Great opportunity to meet people from far off places.

    Cons

    Bureaucracy, bureaucracy
    Small offices, Large personalities
    Stovepipes and silos slow progress and increase frustration.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stronger strategic vision and plan
    Breakdown stovepipes and silos

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Foreign Service: Excellent benefits, rewarding work, frustrating culture at times

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Kabul (Afghanistan)
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Kabul (Afghanistan)

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Being a US Foreign Service Officer or Specialist with the State Department can be a really rewarding career and an exciting lifestyle- assuming you can be honest with yourself and your family. The ability to travel the world (a different country every 1-3 years), serve the American People, and get excellent benefits such as education repayment (for service in hardship posts only), free housing (though not always what you'd choose- but free), and generous pensions and TSP matching is unrivaled. In general the working hours are less than the private sector (though the job will take as much time as you give it)

    Cons

    The lifestyle is not for everyone. Spousal work arrangements can vary widely from country to country, childcare and education opportunities can be frustrate, and the profound lack of continuity of a long-term "home" are not to be scoffed at. Inndividual embassies nad offices can change radically depending on personnel who are constantly rotating. An excellent culture both socially and professionally can change overnight with the departure of a colleague, or even the change of Ambassador with profound ramifications. The promotion and evaluation system is very complicated, and seeming dullards can sometimes advance to levels beyond their abilities wreaking havoc on local staff and junior American staff (not necessarrily junior in age).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Commission a new outside study to hopefully improve the employee evaluation system. Also, perhaps revise the bidding system for onward assignments for mid-level officers to match that of entry-level officers.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great internship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - ITEP Intern in Washington, DC (US)
    Current Employee - ITEP Intern in Washington, DC (US)

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    paid, open door policies, everyone willing to share their experiences and help you grow. great for students

    Cons

    you're either doing nothing or too much

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    create more structure in the internship programs, like a mandatory project or presentation. sometimes interns had to chase officers and ask for parts on a project

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Good experience at US Consulate General Guangzhou

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State full-time

    Pros

    The work life balance of consular work is truly excellent and you will work with some of the most interesting people.

    Cons

    It is sometimes hard to create change because there are so many systems of approval.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow more contribution from FASTOs

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great Experience at State

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Human Resources Trainee in Charleston, SC (US)
    Current Employee - Human Resources Trainee in Charleston, SC (US)

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Great people; Intelligent and hardworking teammates on my team; State really pushes for optimum work-life balance; one of the few decently paid internships for people with less than 1 year professional work experience

    Cons

    Majority of supervisors, I have heard, are great to work with, however I ended up with someone who was kicked down from D.C. for all the problems they caused in D.C.; difficult energy wise to work from 8 am - 5:30 pm and take a thesis course over the summer while working

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Summer Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Summer Intern in Washington, DC (US)
    Former Employee - Summer Intern in Washington, DC (US)

    I worked at US Department of State as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Willingness to work with you so you do what you want. Great chance to network.

    Cons

    Structure of the internship itself ( regarding documentation upon arrival) should be streamlined for interns to begin work without hassle.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Great Internship Experience

    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC (US)
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC (US)

    I worked at US Department of State as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Was given lots of responsibility and exposure to interesting issues/problems/people. They treat you like an adult and equal, so expectations can be high, but it's a fantastic environment in which to learn.

    Cons

    Sometimes the expectations are a bit ridiculous when you consider you're working for free. I'd often find myself doing the same job as someone getting paid 100k+ sitting across from me. This would irritate me a bit, but it's just the reality of the job market these days. Gotta pay your dues!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find a better way to allow interns to transition to full-time or part-time positions.

  10.  

    Public Affairs Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Public Affairs Intern
    Former Employee - Public Affairs Intern

    I worked at US Department of State as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    -Great exposure to the Department of State
    -Good networking opportunities

    Cons

    -The experience of each intern varied on the quality of the manager.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Great experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC (US)
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC (US)

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    I accepted an internship position at the China and Mongolia Desk. It was a fantastic experience. You do get the chance to network and have access to interesting cables. The security clearance ain't bad either.

    Cons

    That said, they really need to give more than just a transportation stipend for all the extra hours you can work. This unpaid internship nonsense has to stop in general, but especially regarding the federal government.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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