US Department of State Reviews

Updated April 23, 2015
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3.9
423 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
128 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. Super opportunity to learn and network

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • 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)

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    Interesting work, great opportunity to network if you make it happen.

    Cons

    Not a lot of assistance for future employment with the Department.

    Advice to Management

    Develop some type of program where your qualified interns get preferential handling for open positions.....giving back for the free labor you received. If not, then pay the interns.

  2. Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Intern in New York, NY
    Former Intern - Intern in New York, NY

    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

    Opens a lot of doors and made a lot of contacts, direct experience with diplomacy, friendly people, intense workload

    Cons

    Bureaucratic at times, not very challenging overall

    Advice to Management

    Utilize your interns better- they're free labor!

  3. Helpful (1)

    Interior Designer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Culture & Values
    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!

  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Good. Even better under Hillary.

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State full-time

    Pros

    You're doing the most important work in the world. Lots of talented colleagues, and the opportunity to work on amazing issues with global impact.

    Cons

    Long hours, below market compensation, a sprawling, sometimes duplicative bureaucracy, senior leadership that is only interested in two or three issues -- and frequently picks the wrong battles.

    Advice to Management

    Remember that there is a world beyond the Middle East. Try to focus a few hours a week on long-term strategic goals beyond pet priorities.

  6. Information Management Specialist

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

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (More than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    You get to live and work in awesome places all over the world.

    Cons

    You have to live and work in some truly awful places.

    Advice to Management

    Great organization to work for.

  7. Community Liason Officer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    Always changing interesting work.
    You wear many hats.

    Cons

    Paperwork and reports are time consuming

  8. Foreign Service Officer

    • 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 full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    The State Department offers great travel opportunities and interesting work. it is an opportunity to see the world, get paid and serve our country at the same time. There are also nice benefits includiing paid housing and schooling for kids while serving overseas.

    Cons

    Very top heavy with very little incentive for innovation or change. Multiple layers of clearance and supervision that dampen any attempts to streamline or make operations more effiicient.

    Advice to Management

    I would say to management that you recruit a very talented pool of individuals and the work is interesting and that a plan is needed for taking advantage of that talent. Not everyone needs to fit the cookie cutter mold

  9. Foreign Service Officer

    • 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

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

    Pros

    Worldwide service; challenging mission; important and meaningful work

    Cons

    Low salary; almost unlivable if you have to spend any time in DC

  10. Helpful (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)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    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 Management

    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.

  11. Helpful (2)

    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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

    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,

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