US Department of State

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  www.state.gov

US Department of State Reviews

Updated December 18, 2014
Updated December 18, 2014
375 Reviews
3.9
375 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
108 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

101 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Foreign Service - The Best Job in the Government

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

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    Living overseas, variety of positions, excellent training opportunities, travel galore, high level of responsibility very early on in your career, excellent work-life balance, outstanding benefit package including pension and Thrift Savings Plan (government 401k).

    Cons

    Limited choice of opportunities early in career, possible separation of family for some danger post assignments (Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.), long hours and weekend work possible depending on assignment, changing positions and countries every 2-4 years is required but up to 5 years is possible in Washington, DC. Limited reward for performance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Compensation is oftentimes lacking for those that work hard. Human Resources system is broken.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Overseas Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Pol/EconOne of the "-stans"
    Current Employee - Pol/EconOne of the "-stans"

    I have been working at US Department of State as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Great opportunity to get experience in diplomacy. "You'll get the most out of this and we'll get the most out of you if we treat you like an FSO, so that's what we're going to do." Housing was provided, although this isn't as likely in some of the European posts. Great way to experience foreign culture, and one of the few USG internships that you can do overseas.

    Cons

    The expat community can be pretty insular. Workload was bipolar- sometimes we had too much work and were struggling to keep up, other times I came into work and read the news all day.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    I love it!

    • 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

    Great place to work. There is a lot to do and every day is different.

    Cons

    You will always be living in different places.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Summer Intern

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State as an intern

    Pros

    Depends on which office you're in. I worked in a office where the number of staff was small so there was much more interaction between interns and the staff. I was also given much more autonomy over my projects and felt like I learned a lot from the summer internship.

    Cons

    Some interns shared that in other offices, they did more routine paperwork and assistance. These offices were usually bigger so there wasn't as much interaction between staff and interns.

    Recommends
  6.  

    Great Experience

    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC

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

    Pros

    I worked in an office within the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. It was fast paced and always interesting. If you are considering a career in the Foreign Service, this is a great way to find out if the work if for you.

    Cons

    You work for free for long hours. It is expensive to live in D.C. The bureaucracy of the State Department can get really frustrating.

  7.  

    Fulfilling work, great coworkers, see the world

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

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

    Pros

    I've enjoyed my first two experiences with the Foreign Service. If you come in on the track that is the best fit for you (in my case, Political) you should enjoy it. The bureaucracy actually takes care of you pretty well, contrary to what many assume of the federal government. The work is varied and sometimes exciting. If you're talented and work hard, you can do good things for your country. If you're up for living abroad most of your life -- away from your family, core friends, and support network -- you'll have some amazing experiences. Pay and benefits are good - a big step up from my non-profit past. I also have a lot more autonomy than I had in the non-profit world; as a Foreign Service Officer you are rather empowered to do what's best for your country.

    Cons

    Unfortunately State has been overshadowed or muscled out more often than it should be other, better-funded agencies of the government (Defense, etc.) I've had some bosses who stand up for State's rightful territory but others who have not. Also, you REALLY have to be dedicated to government service and living overseas for years at a time, in places that may not be your first choice. If not, don't sign up.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Summer Intern - Undergraduate student

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Intern in New York, NY

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

    Pros

    Fantastic internship, learned so much about how a government agency works and had the opportunity to network with a lot of higher-ups in government. I'm sure this will open many doors for me in the future.

    Cons

    Little direction, at times there wasn't much to do in the internship. Wish there was a solid project lasting the entire 10 weeks to keep busy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More direction with interns.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Wonderful

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

    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
  10.  

    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
  11.  

    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
    Current Employee - Foreign Affairs Officer in Washington, DC

    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

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