US Department of State Reviews

Updated April 13, 2015
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4.3
12 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
5 Ratings

12 Employee Reviews

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  1. 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 a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Nothing really. I dont have anything

    Advice to Management

    Nothing

  2. Helpful (1)

    Interior Designer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (more than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Such a rewarding job! Opportunity for growth and advancement is A+.

    Cons

    PSC do not receive full benefits such as the Direct Hires/GS positions. GS can't get fired as easily as a contractor/PSC.

    Advice to Management

    Communication & respect!

  3. Internal Audit Manager, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (part-time contract)

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

    I worked at US Department of State part-time (more than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great colleagues, interesting work with extensive overseas travel

    Cons

    bureaucratic, a contract job with no advancement opportunities, but ideal for a retiree. Must have foreign service and audit or financial management experience to qualify

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  5. Helpful (1)

    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 a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.

  6. Helpful (3)

    Great for overseas travel, but Foreign Service Officers always consider themselves superior to Civil Service personnel.

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

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    If you want to see places around the world, and gain a much higher appreciation of the U.S., this is the place to work. Over the past 12 years, I have been able to get paid to travel to the U.S. embassy in 33 countries, and the locally employed staff are (almost) always glad to cooperate with the Americans in their country. Working in the office that supports the operations and maintenance of all embassies is a great challenge every day, and I have a greater ability to plan and initiate programs that will enhance the long term operation of these U.S. properties.

    Cons

    The biggest challenge is that every two years, there is a rotation of mid-level Foreign Service Officers who arrive with "attitude". Some arrive with the intent to move up at any cost, and will make deals with other Foreign Service officers to keep talented staff in their place. Others want to make positive changes, only to get frustrated by the bureaucracy, and then decide, "I'm outta here in X months!"

    Advice to Management

    Go beyond the "fad of the day" and embrace the reality that the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations is 80% about success in operations, and only 20% in planning, design and construction.

  7. Great place to intern, but don't expect immediate employment

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I worked at the Foreign Service Institute, where they train diplomats. The office I worked was full of wonderful, smart people from all different backgrounds. As an intern, you have the opportunity to take classes and trainings, as well as attending some intern-only "field trips" to the Capital or other embassies. My projects were all great. I was able to lead a few while I was there, and I also led some office meetings. Generally, it was a very good experience, and I made a lot of connections. There is a reason that DoS is one of the top best picks for internship opportunities.

    Cons

    - General struggles against security issues (but that's normal for the government)
    - Other interns were in other offices, where they didn't have good experiences (one of the interns I met showed up the day he was supposed to, and the supervisor had no idea they even were getting an intern)
    - In other internships, there might be the opportunity to be offered employment after graduation from a college or university, but the Department doesn't/can't offer that directly, you have to apply to the very few positions in the U.S. like everybody else or take the Foreign Service Exam in order to become a foreign service officer

  8. Cannot discuss

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Cannot Discuss in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Cannot Discuss in Arlington, VA

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good pay, good benefits, plentiful travel and opportunity

    Cons

    I have no complaints with my employer.

    Advice to Management

    promote me

  9. Helpful (5)

    Long hours, women definitely cannot have it all!

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

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (more than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The most amazing colleagues. The chance to shape history.

    Cons

    Lack of female leadership--most women at the top are workaholics who sacrificed their spouse's career opportunities to get there, or worse, are angry and bitter at their failed relationships (i.e. single or divorced) and want to take it out on younger women seeking a healthy work/life balance. Lack of paid parental leave (the VLTP was a joke, I never got a single day due to "glitches" both times despite due diligence on my part).

    Advice to Management

    Get out of the Stone Ages. Flex time, telecommuting, and a healthy work/life balance are GOOD for productivity.

  10. Good but could be better

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

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

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The prestige that comes from working at State. meaningful work.

    Cons

    The disconnect between foregin service, civil service, PSC, and contractor. Too much nepotism. Seems like you need to be related to get some positions especially the intern program.

    Advice to Management

    Overall State is great but there are some areas for improvement. PSC healthcare reimbursment is one. Why not reimburse employees on a monthly basis?

  11. It's at least a good resume builder

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

    I worked at US Department of State

    No opinion of CEO
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Firsthand access to working with diplomats: if your career goal is to be a FSO than an internship at the Foreign Service Institute will give you more than ample opportunities to network and ask questions.

    - Work with people from all over the world.

    - Amazing cafeteria, their soups are unbeatable.

    - If you speak a foreign language you can practice it there every day.

    - Very friendly and understanding mentors.

    Cons

    - If you are doing a summer internship, the quality of your experience will depends entirely upon which department you work in. Some of my colleges would pace the halls all day long because they literally had nothing to do. Of course, the free time you have can be used to network, but if you want to put something impressive on a resume other than the fact that you were accepted for a prestigious internship, you may end up having little to say. Considering that a majority of these internships are unpaid, and you may have to rent an expensive apartment in DC, you may feel like you flushed your whole summer down the toilet.

    - Intern coordinators can be difficult to get ahold of, and if you complain about having nothing to do, they will tell you it is your fault for not trying hard enough to find work for yourself.

    - If you are looking for networking opportunities at the Main State building, you'll find yourself cut off.

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