US Department of State
3.8 of 5 308 reviews
www.state.gov Washington, DC 5000+ Employees

US Department of State Reviews in Washington, DC

Updated Jul 2, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.8 139 reviews

                             

90% Approve of the CEO

US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry

John Kerry

(39 ratings)

88% of employees recommend this company to a friend
139 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    1 person found this helpful  

    Great experience, exciting environment.

    Public Affairs Intern (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsIt was a very stimulating environment to work. There were lots of opportunities for interns to visit important places and hear important people. I was able to attend live press briefings at both the White House and the State Dept. Great exposure to the world of International Affairs. Everyone in my office was so friendly and welcoming, and I was given lots of responsibility.

    ConsThe application is drawn out because of the security clearance, but definitely worth it.

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Former Foreign Service Officer (Generalist)

    Foreign Service Officer (Former Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsExcellent training, benefits and opportunity to contribute at senior levels when serving overseas in smaller nations. Especially enjoyed working in the Africa Bureau, where the Department has a lot of autonomy in conducting US foreign policy

    ConsThe promotion system, like the military, is stultified and seniority based. On the occasions I had to work with political appointees, I found them difficult and generally unqualified.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Great experience living overseas

    Foreign Service Officer (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsExperience different cultures and countries. See the world while serving your country.

    ConsThird world locations, tough living conditions.

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    3 people found this helpful  

    It's a mixed bag, and not the best place in the federal government for ambitious civil servants

    Foreign Affairs Officer (Former Employee)
    Washington, DC

    Pros- Opportunity to make an impact on foreign policy decisions; work with very senior officers and talented, intelligent people.
    - Great benefits, and thanks to Colin Powell, civil servants can access training opportunities at the Foreign Service Institute - an impressive institution and rarity in government agencies.
    - Opportunities for TDYs, or longer-term overseas jobs for the well-connected. This provides an excellent way to get overseas experience / exposure without subjecting your family to the long-term costs of a foreign service career.
    - Competent people move up quickly, and get a lot of autonomy. Similarly, technical subject matter expertise is not common trait in leadership, so if you are an expert in something, you will very easily be able to influence policy decisions and fill an important niche.

    Cons- The separate personnel systems between the foreign and civil service are like a cancer that constantly erode the credibility and equity of this entire system. Civil servants, no matter how qualified and competent you are, do not have the same long-term career growth opportunities than their foreign service colleagues. This is an institutional/legislative issue, and can lead to some pretty strange outcomes, including: 1) being managed by FSOs with little subject matter expertise, and various levels of managerial in/competence, 2) constant churn when your leadership changes every 2 years result in inconsistent and sometimes ineffective policy and programmatic outcomes; 3) lack of any long-term strategic thinking; 4) leadership decisions motivated by careerism / politics rather than technical reasons.
    - This organization is very complex, and a lot of your success depends on being to navigate politics within the building. That's all fine, but given the proliferation of political appointee specialty offices, it's difficult. New offices / working groups / initiatives take the focus of diplomacy, which is really State's core competency. A lot of the other stuff, this organization just doesn't do so well.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDual personnel system results in high attrition of many of your best and brightest civil servants.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Attractiveness of Careers at U.S. Department of State

    Foreign Service Officer, Retired (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsChallenging work, employee support, travel opportunities

    ConsCaps on salary, occasionally less than ideal life style

    Advice to Senior Managementnone

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

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    Office of Broadcast Services

    Chief Engineer (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsAccess to state of the art equipment and staff to create media content

    ConsEverything they say (oxymoronically) about government workers and bureaucracy is true. Only veterans can "make the cert" to be even considered for employment.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Excellent

    Budget (Current Employee)
    Arlington, VA

    ProsGreat 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.

    ConsBig 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 Senior ManagementBuild 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.

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

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    Internship

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsOverall experience working as an intern in political affairs was excellent. The chance to interact with major figures in foreign affairs, as well as to acquire experience in the diplomatic channels of the U.S. government was second to none.

    ConsThe experience that interns have at State is heavily dependent on which office or post they are assigned.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThe application system for interns should be separated by the education level. Currently, all applications are pooled into one, meaning that more experienced/educated applicants are competing against those in college or even younger. Given the rise in applications by older and more educated applicants, the system is becoming increasingly unfair. Also, management should make greater efforts to create a uniform intern experience throughout State instead of leaving it up to the willingness of individual offices to give interns meaningful work to complete.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Mixed Internship

    Political Section Summer Intern (Former Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsInternship experience differs from office to office. The best case is if the office has substantive work to do, with fewer regular FSO's available. In that case, summer interns often fill in for actual FSO work, though it is closely supervised.

    ConsSummer interns may also have to do some office admin work.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    HR Specialist

    Human Resources Specialist (Current Employee)
    Rosslyn, VA

    ProsPay and benefits are good.
    Relatively easy work

    ConsVery bureaucratic
    Your experience depends largely on the nature of the office management
    Uneven workload distribution - the deadweight employees can skate by very easily

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet rid of the promote at all costs mentality
    Encourage efficiency in the workplace

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at US Department of State reviews and ratings in Washington, DC — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for US Department of State CEO John Kerry. All 139 reviews posted anonymously by US Department of State employees.