US Department of State

www.state.gov

US Department of State Reviews

Updated 27 January 2015
Updated 27 January 2015
387 Reviews
3.9
387 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
115 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

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person 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.

  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Slow moving but easy going.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Security Specialist
    Current Employee - Security Specialist

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    It's definitely a government job. Decent compensation package.

    Cons

    Not a good place for a go getter.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get your FS people out of Washington.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Great place to intern.

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

    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 Employee - Intern in Washington, DC (US)
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC (US)

    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. 1 person found this helpful  

    Amazing opportunity, but the bureaucracy is stiff

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

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

    Pros

    The State Department is the only place I've ever worked that regularly sent me to foreign countries to represent the United States. I felt like I was on the "No Apparent Athletic Talent" Olympic Team. Honestly, it is hard to describe the thrill of landing in Beijing or Abu Dhabi or Yerevan, knowing that I had a job to do on behalf of the U.S. If you are driven by that spirit of public service, you will love the State Department.

    Cons

    The office culture was straight out of office space. Lots of paperwork. Lots of bureaucracy. About a fifth of people seemed to have no real purpose except to process paper (which, frequently, they generated for themselves) and block the rest of the Department from operating more quickly. Careerists and sharp elbows are omnipresent.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More 360 reviews and more promotion opportunities (even small ones) would boost morale

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Foreign Policy Career

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

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

    Pros

    Many Pros to Foreign Service Career:
    -- Directly involved in foreign affairs;
    -- Travel to and live in remarkable places;
    -- Meet remarkable people;
    -- Colleagues generally intelligent and motivated;
    -- Always new experiences and lifelong learning;
    -- Substantial responsibility and some autonomy, and opportunity to be bureaucratically entrepreneurial.
    -- Many functions, especially policy objectives, poorly resourced.

    Cons

    Many Cons also to Foreign Service Career:
    -- Foreign Affairs can be complicated and unstructured, is more about process and relationships than outcomes, and results can be hard to measure;
    -- Travel to and live in unremarkable or unpleasant places, and over time can become exhausting;
    -- Meet difficult people, and have to work with them;
    -- Focus on policy sometimes means lack of focus on management, which can at times be weak;
    -- Work can be unpredictable and demand sacrifices;
    -- Jobs can be unstructured and there is seldom clear guidance, so experiences will vary.
    -- Limited resources teach (those who are successful) to be resourceful.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Very risk averse environment, and sometimes inability to distinguish real and imagined risks. Focus on avoiding bad outcomes rather than achieving good ones, leads to caution rather achieving important goals.

  8.  

    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
  9.  

    Pretty good place to work

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    State employs smart and dynamic people. There are many challenges faced and hardwork and creativity are prized. The training available is impressive and the potential to travel and see the world is pretty great. Overall, State is a very interesting place to work.

    Cons

    Civil Service employees are generally considered less important than Foreign Service. Most of the leadership positions in the Department are reserved for Foreign Service, so CS employees are limited in how high they can go. The FS employees are on two or three year rotations and need to show major achievements to get promoted. This results in limiting what some FS employees will take on. The FS can also be clubby at time. My experience is the FS help each other sometimes at the expense of CS.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide greater opportunities Civil Service employees to fill leadership roles in the Department.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    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

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