US Department of State

  www.state.gov
  www.state.gov

US Department of State Reviews in Washington, DC

Updated December 18, 2014
Updated December 18, 2014
375 Reviews
3.9
375 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
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108 Ratings

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

166 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great for overseas travel, but Foreign Service Officers always consider themselves superior to Civil Service personnel.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Facilities Management Branch Chief in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Facilities Management Branch Chief in Arlington, VA

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    If you want to see places around the world, and gain a much higher appreciation of the U.S., this is the place to work. Over the past 12 years, I have been able to get paid to travel to the U.S. embassy in 33 countries, and the locally employed staff are (almost) always glad to cooperate with the Americans in their country. Working in the office that supports the operations and maintenance of all embassies is a great challenge every day, and I have a greater ability to plan and initiate programs that will enhance the long term operation of these U.S. properties.

    Cons

    The biggest challenge is that every two years, there is a rotation of mid-level Foreign Service Officers who arrive with "attitude". Some arrive with the intent to move up at any cost, and will make deals with other Foreign Service officers to keep talented staff in their place. Others want to make positive changes, only to get frustrated by the bureaucracy, and then decide, "I'm outta here in X months!"

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Go beyond the "fad of the day" and embrace the reality that the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations is 80% about success in operations, and only 20% in planning, design and construction.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    The issues are amazing; the job unparalleled.

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

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    You're representing the United States of America. Need I say more?

    Cons

    Bureaucracy, Foreign Service Mafia, Political Appointees, Bottom Feeding Incompetents.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    De-fund USAID.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    US Department of State

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    One the best Federal Agencies to work for. The benefit structure especially health care and TSP matching is extraordinary.

    Cons

    The only real Con is that State is Foreign Service oriented. Foreign Service officers are then central employee core and taken care of. Civil Service personnel are second tier relative to FSOs. Be prepared for that.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Civil service staff are the backbone of the knowledge of the Department. Treat them more fairly and give them the same opportunities as is offered to FSOs.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    outstanding internship opportunity

    • 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 as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Inspiring. Feel like you have a true opportunity to make a true impact in the world. Great visibility to leadership.

    Cons

    Experience the typical red tape you would in any federal government institution. Understandable frustration over budget cuts with little-to-no opportunity to overcome them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    internship program is great. continue to expose interns to as many projects as possible.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Wonderful and Informative Internship

    Current Employee - Economic Sanctions in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Economic Sanctions in Washington, DC

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

    Pros

    Supervisors committed to ensuring that you have an interesting and productive summer experience. Also, interns work on substantive policy issues and work closely with all levels of management.

    Cons

    Job offers are not a part of the internship program and the summer internship is unpaid. Therefore, you have to re-apply after you graduate and it can be very difficult to transition from an internship to a full-time job.

    Recommends
  7.  

    Bureaucracy

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I worked at US Department of State part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Some 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.

    Cons

    So 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.

  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Adventure and Family Friendly

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

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    World Experience, Pay, Benefits, Paid to learn languages, tight-nit

    Cons

    Bureaucracy, Paperwork, Gossip, middle management issues, politics

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Civil Service will hit a glass ceiling

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    If 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.

    Cons

    Almost 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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

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

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Intern in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Intern in Arlington, VA

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

    Pros

    I 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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

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

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

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

    Pros

    Passionate 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

    Cons

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

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