US Department of State

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US Department of State Reviews

Updated 19 August 2014
Updated 19 August 2014
322 Reviews

3.9
322 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
80 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

    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

    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

    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.  

    Great Place to Work

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    You're making US foreign policy. What could be more gratifying? I've really considered myself lucky to be at State.

    Cons

    It's a high pressure environment. Sometimes it's hard to find the right work-life balance. State can also have a highly competitive environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    MGT does a great job. No major complaints. When other federal agencies were laying off employees, our management worked hard to keep us employed.

  6.  

    My experience at DoS has had its highs and lows. Living overseas was the highlight.

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

    Pros

    Benefits: Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, paid leave, and a chance to see the world and experience different cultures are major benefits of a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. Overseas benefits include paid housing or a housing allowance and paid education for dependent children between K-12.

    Additional Benefits: Tax free housing overseas, tax free educational allowance, etc. (See Benefits on our website for more information.) website is careers.state.gov.

    Any Foreign Service Specialist hired after October 1, 2013, who demonstrates FSI-tested Arabic language ability, will receive a one-time recruitment bonus.

    Cons

    A large bureaucratic society - sometimes comes across as cold and uncaring.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Excellent summer internship experience abroad in Rome, Italy. It was both challenging and rewarding.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Public Affairs Intern  in  Rome (Italy)
    Current Employee - Public Affairs Intern in Rome (Italy)

    Pros

    - Networking opportunities are fantastic. I not only learned about the benefits of working for the Foreign Service, but about the pros and cons of working in other federal agencies, like the FBI and CIA.
    - Working abroad for a summer will look amazing on your resume, especially as a State Department intern.
    -

    Cons

    - No real opportunity for a job after the internship ends - you still have to take the test, with no benefits or advantages.
    - You must make the most out of the internship and be a self-starter. You may not always have things to do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Pay the interns! Or at least provide some sort of compensation in Western Europe, like housing.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Great place to work

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

    Pros

    Interesting subject matter, stability, life-work balance

    Cons

    Heavy bureaucracy in moving papers

  9.  

    An excellent learning experience, albeit unpaid.

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

    Pros

    I had a great time learning about the operations and history of the State Department. It also had the added benefit of being tailored towards the industry I wanted to work in (museums), which you wouldn't normally think of State having. The employees I worked with were kind and extraordinarily helpful, and the office I worked in had a good mix of civil service and foreign service officers, so I was able to see both sides of the types of careers available at State. I was also able to attend a number of events focusing on the Department specifically and DC in general, which all helped my decision to seek further employment opportunities in the District.

    Cons

    The fact that it was unpaid was a huge con. I know that this is in large part due to factors beyond their control, but it was frustrating nonetheless. I also found the bureaucracy to be a little stifling, particularly the security clearance process. A uniform approach to clearance is all well and good, but it is a bit ridiculous for a museum intern with no criminal history and fairly minimal foreign travel to have a clearance take as long or longer than someone who was actually working with secret documents, as opposed to documents that had been declassified years ago.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow for more flexibility in the clearance process, and pay your interns! Expand the Pathways programs so that "normal" interns aren't left in the cold after working for free.

  10.  

    Soul sucker

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

    Pros

    Good money, interesting work, friendly environment

    Cons

    Government work is soul sucking. No incentives, productivity is meaningless for advancement, no difference between hard workers and lazy ones when it comes to raises, etc. Terrible management and ever increasing bureaucracy that totally stifles productivity.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Stay Away!

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

    Pros

    The cafeteria has an excellent array of cuisines.

    Cons

    Management and Senior Management are incompetent.

    Doesn't Recommend

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