US Department of State

  www.state.gov
  www.state.gov

US Department of State Reviews in Washington, DC

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

41 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.  

    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.

  3.  

    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
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  5.  

    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
  6.  

    Big Government in a Small Department

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

    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
  7.  

    Great Internship Experience

    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

    Was given lots of responsibility and exposure to interesting issues/problems/people. They treat you like an adult and equal, so expectations can be high, but it's a fantastic environment in which to learn.

    Cons

    Sometimes the expectations are a bit ridiculous when you consider you're working for free. I'd often find myself doing the same job as someone getting paid 100k+ sitting across from me. This would irritate me a bit, but it's just the reality of the job market these days. Gotta pay your dues!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find a better way to allow interns to transition to full-time or part-time positions.

  8.  

    Positive internship within HR dept

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

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

    Pros

    Learned a great deal of how the govt works especially in HR matters

    Cons

    Nothing really. I dont have anything

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Nothing

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 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 (less than an 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.

  10. 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 (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
  11. 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 (more than an 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

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