US Department of State

  www.state.gov
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US Department of State Reviews

Updated Jul 19, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.8 310 reviews

90% Approve of the CEO

US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry

John Kerry

(77 ratings)

87% of employees recommend this company to a friend

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)

310 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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    Bureaucracy

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsSome of my colleagues were great. Extremely smart and capable. It'll be great to have them as friends and professional contacts for the rest of my life.

    ConsSo much bureaucracy and so much focus on minutiae (which is fine if that's your thing). I could tell how frustrating this was for some of my more experienced colleagues.

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Civil Service will hit a glass ceiling

    Management (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsIf you're on a hot project, you can have a real effect on how the US deals with a particular issue. You can choose to immerse yourself in a subject area for years and become a national-level expert. You can seek out opportunities to work for top policymakers.

    ConsAlmost all jobs above the GS-13 level are reserved for Foreign Service and political appointees, so many long-term civil service employees become somewhat bitter. With the high percentage of political appointees, leadership changes drastically every 2-4 years, and some issues go in and out of style with no deep bench.

    Advice to Senior ManagementEncourage more long-term employees to do more joint duty details at other Departments and Congress, see how everything fits together.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

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

    Intern (Former Employee) Arlington, VA

    ProsI 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

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Great exposure to what it's like to work in the public sector

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsPassionate employees, great sense of purpose, very rewarding to be working toward goals that effect change, excellent opportunity to hear about the many career tracks people pursue to end up at State

    ConsBureaucracy is always challenging and high-visibility engagements are dictated by White House policy more so than State

     

    Intelligent people, exciting work - just be patient with the bureaucracy.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsUnique opportunity to work on foreign policy

    ConsVery hierarchical, but the structure can sometimes be a good thing.

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Highly rewarding experience. Affords one the opportunity to serve our country via some very unique assignments.

    IT Manager (Former Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsDedicated professionals, rewarding assignments (both the job and location), benefits

    ConsConstant moving, next assignment bidding process, politics

    Advice to Senior ManagementIt takes many spokes to make that wheel go around smoothly! Value all your employees equally and stop putting your Officers (Econ, Political...) on a pedestal.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Great learning experience, little to no opportunity to be hired or recommended for employment.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsGreat people, exciting work, not the kind of internship where you get stuck making copies. Really good if you are interested in the Foreign Service.

    ConsSame as the cons for any unpaid internship- a system where you have to spend your life savings to get work experience is broken.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    A great place for career growth and development

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsMultifaceted organization with enormous opportunity

    ConsBureaucratic and employees have difficulty improving processes.

    Advice to Senior ManagementReach out to employees for ways to improve efficiency

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

    1 person found this helpful  

    A great way of life

    Information Management Specialist (Former Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsTravel. Living in foreign countries. Great people to work with.

    ConsSome positions are in very, very dangerous countries. Additionally, as IT staff, a lot of the "officers" have extremely large egos that are disproportionate to their intelligence and abilities.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRecognize that your IT staff have far more lucrative opportunities outside the relatively small world of the diplomatic service. We may be "only staff" but without us you don't communicate!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Overall very positive

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsGreat travel opportunities in a vital public service.

    ConsBureaucratic processes can hinder creativity.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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