US Department of State Reviews

Updated April 13, 2015
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3.8
174 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
59 Ratings

174 Employee Reviews

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Helpful (1)

    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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  5. 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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

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

  6. 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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

    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.

  7. 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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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.

  8. Foreign Service Officer

    • 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 10 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Ability to travel and see the world and get paid for it.

    Cons

    Foreign Service Officer themselves are one of the biggest turn offs. Culture is risk adverse and is often spends hours debating inane things with no strategic plan. Evaluation system is capricious and random. This is really an unhealthy environment to work, which is getting worse since they hired too many people in the last decade.

    Advice to Management

    Manage the organization!

  9. 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)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    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 Management

    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.

  10. Helpful (2)

    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)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Antiquated systems, amazing bureaucracy, lots of egos

    Advice to Management

    Good people need to be valued more

  11. Helpful (3)

    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)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.

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