US Department of State Reviews

Updated 28 August, 2014
Updated 28 August, 2014
326 Reviews

3.9
326 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
81 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • See the world while serving your country (in 12 reviews)

  • I worked at the Foreign Service Institute, where they train diplomats (in 22 reviews)


Cons
  • Foreign Service officers are then central employee core and taken care of (in 27 reviews)

  • The biggest challenge is that every two years, there is a rotation of mid-level Foreign Service Officers who arrive with "attitude" (in 15 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great Place to Work

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Pros

    You're making US foreign policy. What could be more gratifying? I've really considered myself lucky to be at State.

    Cons

    It's a high pressure environment. Sometimes it's hard to find the right work-life balance. State can also have a highly competitive environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    MGT does a great job. No major complaints. When other federal agencies were laying off employees, our management worked hard to keep us employed.

  2.  

    Logistics Advisor

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

    I worked at US Department of State full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Excellent benefits, a lot of training opportunities and great options to grow.

    Cons

    You need to know someone to be hired or promoted.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    n/a

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Great place to work!

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Culture of hard work, senior management interested in continuously improving the Department, compensation is on par with other gov organizations, opportunity for advancement, encouraged to think outside the box and to be creative.

    Cons

    Horrible work life balance, senior management interested in continuously improving things - even when there is no need, up our out FS system makes employees overly competitive, serious cultural divide between FS and CS.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sometimes things are not broken. Don't try to fix everything - over and over again.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    My experience at DoS has had its highs and lows. Living overseas was the highlight.

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time

    Pros

    Benefits: Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, paid leave, and a chance to see the world and experience different cultures are major benefits of a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. Overseas benefits include paid housing or a housing allowance and paid education for dependent children between K-12.

    Additional Benefits: Tax free housing overseas, tax free educational allowance, etc. (See Benefits on our website for more information.) website is careers.state.gov.

    Any Foreign Service Specialist hired after October 1, 2013, who demonstrates FSI-tested Arabic language ability, will receive a one-time recruitment bonus.

    Cons

    A large bureaucratic society - sometimes comes across as cold and uncaring.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Excellent summer internship experience abroad in Rome, Italy. It was both challenging and rewarding.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Public Affairs Intern  in  Rome (Italy)
    Current Employee - Public Affairs Intern in Rome (Italy)

    I have been working at US Department of State as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    - Networking opportunities are fantastic. I not only learned about the benefits of working for the Foreign Service, but about the pros and cons of working in other federal agencies, like the FBI and CIA.
    - Working abroad for a summer will look amazing on your resume, especially as a State Department intern.
    -

    Cons

    - No real opportunity for a job after the internship ends - you still have to take the test, with no benefits or advantages.
    - You must make the most out of the internship and be a self-starter. You may not always have things to do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Pay the interns! Or at least provide some sort of compensation in Western Europe, like housing.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great place to work

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

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Pros

    Interesting subject matter, stability, life-work balance

    Cons

    Heavy bureaucracy in moving papers

  8.  

    Lost in the shuffle of bureaucracy

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time

    Pros

    Rare, but exciting opportunities to contribute to the management of dynamic and evolving situations related to international issues and US foreign affairs.

    Cons

    Feeling like a number lost in a system, surronded by careerist looking to impress the right person, as opposed to truly contributing to the mission.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Encourage free thinking and ambition.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    highs and lows

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    interesting work and also rewarding. fast-paced, decent benefits. depending on the job, get to work with diverse groups of people in the embassy community and get valuable experience working with the interagency.

    Cons

    difficult to move around. stressful with poor managment and can be a grind. conservative, hierarchical culture with diversity issues. lowest starting pay of the majority of other agencies.

  10.  

    Soul sucker

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Good money, interesting work, friendly environment

    Cons

    Government work is soul sucking. No incentives, productivity is meaningless for advancement, no difference between hard workers and lazy ones when it comes to raises, etc. Terrible management and ever increasing bureaucracy that totally stifles productivity.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great if you're in it for the long haul

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Public service, world travel, free overseas housing, decent pay. If you'd like to travel the world and aren't too picky about where you're going, then State is for you. It might be Ciudad Juarez, Baghdad, or Paris, you just don't know what will open up. You can lobby more as you rise in the ranks. Pay is pretty good but it's hard to live in DC on your salary if you have kids and a stay-at-home spouse.

    Cons

    Promotion is highly structured and there's lots of bureaucracy. Strategy and planning are needed but the building seems to constantly be responding to the latest crisis. This can dramatically impact work-life balance for years at a time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Organizational culture shift is overdue to increase innovation and adaptibility.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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