US Department of State Reviews

Updated March 26, 2015
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
123 Ratings

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 Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

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  1. Great Opportunities To Serve

    • 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 5 years)

    Pros

    Working for the Department State you will have opportunities (and expectations) to learn new languages and develop a variety of skills including policy analysis, written communication and most importantly, serve as the face of America to the world. Your housing is provided overseas as is private school tuition for your children.

    Cons

    You don't determine your assignments, especially your first two, afterwards its a bidding process. You have to promote the administration's agenda, despite your personal differences. You may have to live in some difficult circumstances in undeveloped countries. You will most likely, never become an ambassador (40% are political appointees). You will start very low in a large, pyramidal bureaucracy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Encourage fresh thinking and expand and update the Ask Admin Database, far too often, State employees grouse that it seems as though no one has ever done a PCS or some other routine process because of the difficulty in getting things done.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2. Excellent employer, consistently one of the best government agencies to work for.

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

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    No matter if your a government employee or government contractor you are treated fairly.

    Cons

    There wasn't much controversy or things I saw that they did wrong in my opionion.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what works and listening to all your employees for the things that will continue to get the job done.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. Fantastice Career

    • 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

    Pros

    Travel
    Education
    Tax Free Housing when overseas
    Upward mobility
    Overall working for the Department of State is a great career. Working and living is not for everyone but if you are adventurous at heart and have wonder lust, a career with the State Department is perfect. I have been doing this for over twenty years and the stories I have to tell would fill a book

    Cons

    Moving every few years.
    Some unprofessional/ incompetent bosses... The Department focuses on hiring academic elitists . Academic prowess does not transfer well to leadership and management skills.
    Hardship assignments

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The Department should review its hiring process and A-100 curriculum. If the Department truly wants its diplomats to be representative of America, it needs to change its culture of elitism. I think the elitism culture comes from the hiring process that culls non-elitists and the A-100 class encourages the same culture. A review of the CIA's and other Foreign Affair Agency hiring and training methods would provide good source material for reforming the process,

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. Working in Emergency Management at the Department of State

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

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Pros

    Working in a small office allows you to explore and learn the many different portfolios that can be found under Emergency Management.

    Cons

    The Department of State can be very set in its ways and does not adjust well with the testing, training and exercise requirements for many EM programs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learning to understand there are emerging technologies, requirements and preparedness measures that are directed by mandates. By supporting and recognizing the importance of the various EM programs.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. Pathways Internship Program at the State Department

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

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Pros

    The program has given me a ton of opportunities, including tours of the ops center, attending seminars and networking events, and opportunities for full time careers after I graduate. In the program, I have worked in 2 different offices, both of which have been great. It is also a very well paid internship program which is excellent considering most internships that offer these kinds of opportunities are unpaid.

    Cons

    Starting in the program involves a lot of paperwork and it takes forever to get everything set up.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. Amazing Experiene

    Former Intern - Intern
    Former Intern - Intern

    I worked at US Department of State as an intern

    Pros

    Great hands on experience. Dedicated and professional staff.

    Cons

    Would have liked greater responsibility.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You need to pay the interns!!!!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. Good place to intern depending on your office

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

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

    Pros

    If you can deal with the bureaucracy of the State Department, you're prepared for working anywhere else in the Federal government. Some of the FSOs/CSOs there are great people to learn from.

    Cons

    Extremely rigid bureaucracy can be frustrating sometimes; depending on your placement it can be a very useful learning experience or a terrible exercise in scut work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It would be nice if there were differentiated internships based on whether you were coming in as an undergraduate student or a graduate student with experience; I was utilized well by my office given my work experience and education, but other graduate students I knew were not.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  9. Diverse.

    • 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

    Pros

    Great benefits. interesting work. Great coworkers.

    Cons

    Micromanaged. Exhausting. high level of communication needed.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None.

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

    It has been a nice ride, now ready to move on

    • 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 8 years)

    Pros

    Lots of training, free services (all sorts of counselling), interesting work

    Cons

    Antiquated systems, amazing bureaucracy, lots of egos

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Good people need to be valued more

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. Living and working abroad representing the USG.

    • 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

    Pros

    excitement, impact, org culture, super smart and interesting people

    Cons

    beaurocracy, rules for everything, moving every 2 years (could be a pro!)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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