US Department of State

  www.state.gov
  www.state.gov

US Department of State Reviews in Washington, DC

Updated October 22, 2014
Updated October 22, 2014
354 Reviews
3.9
354 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
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96 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

74 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    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
    Current Employee - Senior Project Manager in Washington, DC

    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
  2.  

    Great internship

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

    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
  3.  

    Summer Intern

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

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

    Pros

    Willingness to work with you so you do what you want. Great chance to network.

    Cons

    Structure of the internship itself ( regarding documentation upon arrival) should be streamlined for interns to begin work without hassle.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Summer Internship

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

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

    Pros

    Tremendous exposure to the inner workings of the foreign policy machine.

    Cons

    Human Resources are a disaster. The internship itself was totally unorganized and provided very little guidance or mentorship.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    State needs to consider restructuring its internship program to fall more in line with private sector standards of organization.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Great experience

    • 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

    I accepted an internship position at the China and Mongolia Desk. It was a fantastic experience. You do get the chance to network and have access to interesting cables. The security clearance ain't bad either.

    Cons

    That said, they really need to give more than just a transportation stipend for all the extra hours you can work. This unpaid internship nonsense has to stop in general, but especially regarding the federal government.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Foreign Service for 25 Years

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    If you have a strong motivation for public service, there are few places where you can have as much impact during a career. Working abroad, you are part of a much smaller team as compared to DC. Living abroad is great. Whether good or bad, the Department takes care of most of the complicated parts of living overseas. Housing and maintenance of your residence is included. You don't have to get your own visa. There is usually a commissary of food and alcohol so you don't have to do without your favorites from the States. It can be living in a bubble but the lack of hassle is nice.

    Cons

    It is a bureaucracy. Overseas, the bureaucracy is less but the home office can be insane! Moving from place to place involves far too many steps. Each time it feels like the bureaucracy is doing it for the first time. Despite the process for entering the Foreign Service being so rigorous, there are far too many bad managers. Most career managers are good but people promoted to the deputy chief of mission often have almost no management experience and then are managing 100 people. No wonder they fail. Except at the highest levels, members of the Foreign Service don't make policy. As a result, some find themselves advocating for policies against which they strongly object. One has to make peace with that.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get more management training for mid-level officers. Actively identify bad managers earlier. Doing 360 reviews at the time of assignments is not enough. Ensure that feedback from subordinates is taken seriously. Change the evaluation system so it doesn't depend so much on the quality of the writing of your boss and doesn't overstate accomplishments and their significance.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Great Place to Intern

    • 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 (less than an year)

    Pros

    The kinds of projects you work on and the experience and knowledge you gain, not to mention the advantage of being able to put State on your resume, somewhat make up for it being unpaid. Worked with smart, hardworking people -- State Dept. employees are 'diplomatic' in how they communicate with each other, so office atmosphere is very congenial. Plus, there are usually happy hour parties every other Friday.

    Cons

    I worked in a 'functional' office instead of a regional office, so I was able to work about 22 hours a week and still attend grad school full-time. Work consisted of day-to-day tasks and one long-term project -- not too stressful. However, I've heard from other interns that the regional offices are understaffed and desk officers are overworked, and interns are just running around putting fires out all day. If possible, do an internship at an embassy or consulate overseas -- more responsibilities, substantive work.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    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
    Current Employee - InformATion Programs Officer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time

    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
  10.  

    Logistics Advisor

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

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Excellent benefits, a lot of training opportunities and great options to grow.

    Cons

    You need to know someone to be hired or promoted.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    n/a

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Great place to work!

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

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

    Pros

    Culture of hard work, senior management interested in continuously improving the Department, compensation is on par with other gov organizations, opportunity for advancement, encouraged to think outside the box and to be creative.

    Cons

    Horrible work life balance, senior management interested in continuously improving things - even when there is no need, up our out FS system makes employees overly competitive, serious cultural divide between FS and CS.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sometimes things are not broken. Don't try to fix everything - over and over again.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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