US Department of State

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US Department of State Reviews

Updated 19 August, 2014
Updated 19 August, 2014
321 Reviews

3.9
321 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
80 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

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great Place to Work

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    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.  

    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)

    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
  3.  

    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)

    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
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  5.  

    Great place to work

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

    Pros

    Interesting subject matter, stability, life-work balance

    Cons

    Heavy bureaucracy in moving papers

  6.  

    An excellent learning experience, albeit unpaid.

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

    Pros

    I had a great time learning about the operations and history of the State Department. It also had the added benefit of being tailored towards the industry I wanted to work in (museums), which you wouldn't normally think of State having. The employees I worked with were kind and extraordinarily helpful, and the office I worked in had a good mix of civil service and foreign service officers, so I was able to see both sides of the types of careers available at State. I was also able to attend a number of events focusing on the Department specifically and DC in general, which all helped my decision to seek further employment opportunities in the District.

    Cons

    The fact that it was unpaid was a huge con. I know that this is in large part due to factors beyond their control, but it was frustrating nonetheless. I also found the bureaucracy to be a little stifling, particularly the security clearance process. A uniform approach to clearance is all well and good, but it is a bit ridiculous for a museum intern with no criminal history and fairly minimal foreign travel to have a clearance take as long or longer than someone who was actually working with secret documents, as opposed to documents that had been declassified years ago.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow for more flexibility in the clearance process, and pay your interns! Expand the Pathways programs so that "normal" interns aren't left in the cold after working for free.

  7.  

    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)

    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
  8.  

    Stay Away!

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

    Pros

    The cafeteria has an excellent array of cuisines.

    Cons

    Management and Senior Management are incompetent.

    Doesn't Recommend
  9. 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)

    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
  10.  

    Good company

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

    Pros

    Not too bad to work for, fairly good training opportunities and pay is okay. Best thing is the colleagues , many of which have worked for years with each other.

    Cons

    Not very good with other benefits such as flexi working , seem to be behind the times. Management changes every few years which can be challenging

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Passport Specialist, I adjudicate applications for processing passports

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

    Pros

    Something different everyday. It is definitely a challenge everyday.

    Cons

    Keeping Focused on everything you do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Have more Patience with employees

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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