US Department of State

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US Department of State Reviews

Updated 14 September 2014
Updated 14 September 2014
333 Reviews
3.9
333 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
83 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • See the world while serving your country (in 12 reviews)

  • I worked at the Foreign Service Institute, where they train diplomats (in 22 reviews)


Cons
  • Foreign Service officers are then central employee core and taken care of (in 27 reviews)

  • The biggest challenge is that every two years, there is a rotation of mid-level Foreign Service Officers who arrive with "attitude" (in 15 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Good place to start career

    • 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 full-time

    Pros

    Supportive people and great networking

    Cons

    Inefficient and prone to politics

    Recommends
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Foreign service can be very difficult, surprising lack of professionalism among some

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Traveling the world, although you often do not have much say over where you go, sometimes exposed to very interesting issues, but a lot of it is boring paper pushing, varies hugely from Embassy to Embassy

    Cons

    Quality of coworkers is not as high as expected, very difficult to get anything done in such a huge bureaucracy, you can be sent anywhere in the world and told to do any job regardless of your interests or background, it can be incredibly difficult in families

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Change the Foreign Service entry process, so many good candidates do not make it while many mediocre ones do, do a better job of weeding out people who are terrible managers or otherwise incompetent

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Not Bad

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Fulbright Researcher  in  Mumbai
    Former Employee - Fulbright Researcher in Mumbai

    I worked at US Department of State full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    I was on a Fulbright fellowship which was really sweet. I traveled to India and got to do a lot of cool stuff that I wanted to. And there was very little oversight so you could be your own boss.

    Cons

    Foreign countries are difficult to live in. Really think about what you want to achieve during Fulbright. Also, I don't speak much Hindi so I had trouble to communicate with co-workers. Kind of odd review of state department huh!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    none.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Summer Internship

    • 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 as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    I worked abroad in an embassy and I had a mixed experience. The positives is that my boss allowed me to experience the different sectors of the embassy and encouraged me to be involved in different sections. The first week or so was a little slow, but after I got all my briefings I got more work to do that filled my day. I had the menial tasks like making copies, but I also got to help on big projects which was great. Everyone, even the higher ups would check in with me to see how I was going and was very kind. I was also given housing and transportation to the embassy. Without the provided housing and transportation I would not have been able to intern, since the position is unpaid.

    Cons

    The biggest turn off for me were actually the foreign service officers. I assumed that foreign service officers were open minded since they are essentially the face of the U.S. Some, not all, of the officers looked down a lot on the country and the people who lived in the country. Some of them made fun of the people they rejected for visas, they were often rude to the local staff and to the people who worked in the cafeteria. They referred to the country as stupid and sometimes to the people as unintelligent. Some took pride in the fact that they were diplomats and police officers wouldn't stop them for traffic violations, so they drove recklessly. These behaviors made me question if the foreign service would ever be a track I would pursue and sometimes overshadowed the very positive things I was experiencing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider a stipend for inters.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    The internship in Public Affairs was fantastic! No complaints.

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State as an intern

    Pros

    Fun, varied work environment, challenging.

    Cons

    No cons to speak of, very much enjoyed my time there.

    Recommends
  7.  

    The review

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

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

    Pros

    Amazing training and travel experience.

    Cons

    bad sleep schedule. long hours.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Itern

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State as an intern

    Pros

    Great way to get a feeling for how the organization operates. Build a knowledge of the organizational structure.

    Cons

    You are limited in your portfolio. There wasn't enough time to see a project from start to completion.

  9.  

    US Departmetn of State - Management Intern

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Pros

    Really cool experience.

    Cons

    Difficult to use experience to get foot in door as a permanent position (does not necessarily help with passing the FSOT)

  10.  

    FSO

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

    I worked at US Department of State full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Taking part in making and carrying out the foreign policy of the United States is incredibly rewarding as well as intellectually challenging.

    Cons

    Long hours are the norm and are expected at all levels of service; commitment to a lifestyle of moving every 2-3 years is difficult for those with family responsibilities.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The impact of "reform" of the promotion system seems to have confused more FSOs that it assisted in developing career plans.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    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 as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    The kinds of projects you work on and the experience and knowledge you gain, not to mention the advantage of being able to put State on your resume, somewhat make up for it being unpaid. Worked with smart, hardworking people -- State Dept. employees are 'diplomatic' in how they communicate with each other, so office atmosphere is very congenial. Plus, there are usually happy hour parties every other Friday.

    Cons

    I worked in a 'functional' office instead of a regional office, so I was able to work about 22 hours a week and still attend grad school full-time. Work consisted of day-to-day tasks and one long-term project -- not too stressful. However, I've heard from other interns that the regional offices are understaffed and desk officers are overworked, and interns are just running around putting fires out all day. If possible, do an internship at an embassy or consulate overseas -- more responsibilities, substantive work.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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