US Department of State

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US Department of State Reviews

Updated February 26, 2015
Updated February 26, 2015
398 Reviews
3.9
398 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
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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

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    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
  2.  

    Phenomenal, exhausting, worth it

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

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

    Pros

    Extremely challenging, sense of purpose, decent compensation, opportunities for international travel/living. Outstanding, high-achieving colleagues who work as a team. Almost every manager I ever had was great and cared not just about policy, but about the people they managed. If you show you're competent, you'll get more responsibility.

    Cons

    Poor work-life balance, culture of CYA, bureaucratic wrangling can be frustrating, zero consequences for poor management (since most managers move on within 2 years, higher-ups are content to pass the buck and let poor managers slide), some favoritism, conflict among Foreign Service Officers - Civil Servants - and Political Appointees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay close attention to middle management and emphasize accountability. Hold all employees accountable instead of counting down the days until they leave. Pay attention to retention rates and morale in particular offices.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Great place to intern.

    • 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

    Pros

    I was treated as a part of the team and got a lot of responsibility early on.
    Minimal administrative work compared to other internships.

    Cons

    Unpaid.
    Won't lead to a job even if they like you due to federal hiring processes.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Awesome place to work at

    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

    Made lifelong friends and great support network. Extremely friendly and encouraging folks here.

    Cons

    No pay since I was an unpaid intern.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay interns.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    A safe have for foreign policy wonks....

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    If you love international affairs, and you love writing, you will love State. Top notch talent and unparalleled opportunities to contribute to policy making.

    Cons

    Human resources processes can be daunting and State can be quite formal for newbies, but you can acclimate quickly to the culture by being observant and asking a ton of questions.

  7.  

    Satisfied Employee

    • 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

    Pros

    Interesting work and nice colleagues.

    Cons

    Not a lot of room for creativity.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Interesting and fun experience

    • 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 part-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    There are many challenges and diversity throughout and can be very interesting. Embassy life was wonderful, and you feel like part of a family.

    Cons

    Depending on the embassy, politics within can be challenging, allowing different departments to be favored.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Amazing

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

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    Diversity and creating wide range of friends and contacts all over the world

    Cons

    Being away from the loved ones.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Great management however needs fair chances given to the employees.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    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
  11.  

    Overseas Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Intern - Pol/EconOne of the "-stans"
    Current Intern - Pol/EconOne of the "-stans"

    I have been working at US Department of State as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Great opportunity to get experience in diplomacy. "You'll get the most out of this and we'll get the most out of you if we treat you like an FSO, so that's what we're going to do." Housing was provided, although this isn't as likely in some of the European posts. Great way to experience foreign culture, and one of the few USG internships that you can do overseas.

    Cons

    The expat community can be pretty insular. Workload was bipolar- sometimes we had too much work and were struggling to keep up, other times I came into work and read the news all day.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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