US Department of State

www.state.gov
Employer Engaged

US Department of State Reviews

Updated 26 February, 2015
Updated 26 February, 2015
398 Reviews
3.9
398 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
118 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • If you work for the Foreign Service, you get to see the world in so many meaningful ways (in 30 reviews)

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


Cons
  • The biggest turn off for me were actually the foreign service officers (in 32 reviews)

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

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Itern

    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern

    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.  

    Living and working abroad representing the USG.

    • 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

    excitement, impact, org culture, super smart and interesting people

    Cons

    beaurocracy, rules for everything, moving every 2 years (could be a pro!)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  3.  

    It has been a nice ride, now ready to move on

    • 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 (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Lots of training, free services (all sorts of counselling), interesting work

    Cons

    Antiquated systems, amazing bureaucracy, lots of egos

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Good people need to be valued more

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5.  

    Phenomenal, exhausting, worth it

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

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Extremely challenging, sense of purpose, decent compensation, opportunities for international travel/living. Outstanding, high-achieving colleagues who work as a team. Almost every manager I ever had was great and cared not just about policy, but about the people they managed. If you show you're competent, you'll get more responsibility.

    Cons

    Poor work-life balance, culture of CYA, bureaucratic wrangling can be frustrating, zero consequences for poor management (since most managers move on within 2 years, higher-ups are content to pass the buck and let poor managers slide), some favoritism, conflict among Foreign Service Officers - Civil Servants - and Political Appointees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay close attention to middle management and emphasize accountability. Hold all employees accountable instead of counting down the days until they leave. Pay attention to retention rates and morale in particular offices.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Foreign Service Officer

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

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Fascinating work, smart and dedicated colleagues, see the world, do work that matters, serve the American people

    Cons

    Big bureaucracy with its share of dead wood that puts a premium on policy over people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Rethink the hiring and retention process; a system that is almost 50 years old is not competitive and won't get or retain the best people

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  7.  

    Hit or Miss Internship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • 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

    Pros

    Exciting work, reasonable hours, great foreign policy exposure.

    Cons

    Most interns are unpaid.
    The major con is that while interns know their bureau/department placement before accepting the position, they often don't know which specific office they will be placed in. Especially in some of the larger bureaus, this can be extremely frustrating, as internship experiences vary widely even within bureaus depending on which specific office the intern is assigned to.

    Recommends
  8.  

    Awesome internship abroad, although unpaid the Security Clearance you get is worth more than any petty hourly wage.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Political Economics in Lisbon (Portugal)
    Former Intern - Political Economics in Lisbon (Portugal)

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

    Pros

    You get a free "Secret" security clearance which makes you much more appealing to many cool employers.
    Come in at 8:30am leave at 5pm and you leave your work at work.
    Beautiful embassy grounds along with a Navy Exchange store where you can buy American products.
    Embassy is like a big family you grow to love.
    A free cellphone
    Per diem on trips

    Cons

    A lot of the projects only take a few hours to complete, then you are kind of on standby for a while until something else worthwhile comes up.
    No cell phones in the office for security reasons
    Unpaid and not too much help finding a place for you to live.
    Doing the internship doesn't help you at all with getting a full time job there.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I suggested to the internship managers that they have an assignment dropbox where anyone from the office can post a job for you to do so you can always keep busy.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Good for Idealists

    • 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

    Worldwide reach and sense of purpose

    Cons

    Bureaucratic; people who have stayed too long are challenging to work with.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None

  10.  

    Large bureaucracy with lack of communication between different sectors.

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    Extremely prestigious and doing great work around the world. Offers lots of flexibility

    Cons

    Building is in no man's land -

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Communicate with your staff. Share what goes on in the many many meetings that you attend.

  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    A safe have for foreign policy wonks....

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    If you love international affairs, and you love writing, you will love State. Top notch talent and unparalleled opportunities to contribute to policy making.

    Cons

    Human resources processes can be daunting and State can be quite formal for newbies, but you can acclimate quickly to the culture by being observant and asking a ton of questions.

US Department of State Photos

Work at US Department of State? Share Your Experiences

US Department of State

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.