US Department of State Reviews

Updated August 19, 2014
Updated August 19, 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

81 Employee Reviews Back to all 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. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great experience, exciting environment.

    Current Employee - Public Affairs Intern  in  Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Public Affairs Intern in Washington, DC

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

    Pros

    It was a very stimulating environment to work. There were lots of opportunities for interns to visit important places and hear important people. I was able to attend live press briefings at both the White House and the State Dept. Great exposure to the world of International Affairs. Everyone in my office was so friendly and welcoming, and I was given lots of responsibility.

    Cons

    The application is drawn out because of the security clearance, but definitely worth it.

  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Former Foreign Service Officer (Generalist)

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

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

    Pros

    Excellent training, benefits and opportunity to contribute at senior levels when serving overseas in smaller nations. Especially enjoyed working in the Africa Bureau, where the Department has a lot of autonomy in conducting US foreign policy

    Cons

    The promotion system, like the military, is stultified and seniority based. On the occasions I had to work with political appointees, I found them difficult and generally unqualified.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Consistently one of the Best places to work in the Federal Government

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Special Agent  in  Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Special Agent in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    Worldwide Travel with limitless career development. An adventure at every post, but the life you can create for yourself is completely unique.

    Cons

    Time away from family on certain assignments. Large bureaucracy, so there are issues that are consistent with those institutions. Flexibility is a must in this organization because of the fluid nature of international politics and diplomacy. That said...you will be at the forefront of history in many situations.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Excellent

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Budget  in  Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Budget in Arlington, VA

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great potential for learning as the agency receives relatively low funding (compared to DOJ, DHS, DOD). They attempt to achieve a lot with as few people resources as possible.

    Cons

    Big government - slow to implement change (if you're young). Contractor vs. GS Employee culture. Little in the way of mentorship across GS-Contractor lines.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Build in more promotion potential in both the GS and Contractor worlds. Federal gov't in general is on a freeze for raises. They need to lift this freeze. Hard to compete with private sector in this regard. People want raises after a couple years of work without having to jump ship into another role/agency.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Office of Broadcast Services

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

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

    Pros

    Access to state of the art equipment and staff to create media content

    Cons

    Everything they say (oxymoronically) about government workers and bureaucracy is true. Only veterans can "make the cert" to be even considered for employment.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great outfit

    • 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

    Travel is exciting, interesting and frequent.

    Cons

    At times, travel can be a bit much.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work.

  9.  

    Excellent

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Political Section Summer Intern
    Former Employee - Political Section Summer Intern

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

    Pros

    You will not have another internship as hands on as this one. The post I interned at had me do tasks normal Foreign Service Officers would do. Therefore, I learned copious amounts in a short three months time.

    Cons

    The security clearance does take a long time, especially if you have traveled to many other countries. I would suggest getting it done early because the process takes a long time. Another con is that if you want to become a Foreign Service Officer, you have to pass the FSO test. It would be nice if your supervisors saw that you were fit to be an FSO they would give you the job, similar to what other companies do. But unfortunately, if you want to become an FSO you must pass the FSO test which can be difficult.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great pay with lots of networking opportunities

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    Very nice pay for an internship
    Flexible lunch hours
    Great first job
    Freedom to network and tour DC during work hours

    Cons

    The pros depend on the office. Some offices celebrate someone leaving by going out to a nice restaurant. Other offices celebrate everything at Tonic (local bar). My boss always paid.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make it easier to keep paid interns onboard, even if they don't have student status.

    Recommends
  11.  

    outstanding internship opportunity

    • 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 as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Inspiring. Feel like you have a true opportunity to make a true impact in the world. Great visibility to leadership.

    Cons

    Experience the typical red tape you would in any federal government institution. Understandable frustration over budget cuts with little-to-no opportunity to overcome them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    internship program is great. continue to expose interns to as many projects as possible.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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