US Department of State

  www.state.gov
  www.state.gov

US Department of State Reviews

Updated 22 October, 2014
Updated 22 October, 2014
355 Reviews
3.9
355 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
97 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.  

    Great Experience

    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State as an intern

    Pros

    Incredible opportunities to meet upper level employees

    Cons

    Long application process takes months

    Recommends
  3.  

    Embassy CLO

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - CLO in Nouakchott (Mauritania)
    Former Employee - CLO in Nouakchott (Mauritania)

    I worked at US Department of State part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Flexible hours, good pay and enjoyed working with my coworker

    Cons

    Embassy limitations, and overworked at times.

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  5.  

    Wonderful

    • 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

    As in any job, I have found, who you are around makes your whole experience. The people at the State Department are great. There is a culture of knowing that you are doing something important and acting well on it.

    Cons

    Some interns (me) go unpaid. It just did not seem right for me to be in a position where it was difficult to rent or buy food when I was giving so much of myself; but, If asked, I'd do it again.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stay wise.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Live Overseas, See the World, Get a reliable Paycheck

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

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

    Pros

    -Travel is amazing, I've seen more than 20 countries in 10 years
    -USG benefits are great, retirement,healthcare, schooling for family overseas
    -The Money is pretty good for the work completed

    Cons

    -Never get rich
    -Budget is constantly being cut
    -Constantly competing for new jobs
    -Sometimes have to live in places you'd never previously consider
    -Some hardship tours away from family
    -Seem pretty obsessed with "quota filling"

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    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
  8.  

    Full of interesting issues and people, but culture can get political and underhanded.

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

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

    Pros

    Interesting work
    Diverse and very smart colleagues
    Good benefits
    Can work on very high impact issues

    Cons

    Bureaucracy can be limiting, especially for those not on a political track
    Travel can be fatiguing
    Long hours

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    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
  10.  

    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
  11.  

    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

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