US Department of State Reviews

Updated 30 August 2014
Updated 30 August 2014
327 Reviews

3.9
327 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
81 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

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  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. 1 person found this helpful  

    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)

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time

    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.  

    Great Place to Work

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Department of State

    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.

  8.  

    Logistics Advisor

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

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

    Pros

    Excellent benefits, a lot of training opportunities and great options to grow.

    Cons

    You need to know someone to be hired or promoted.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    n/a

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Great place to work!

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

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Culture of hard work, senior management interested in continuously improving the Department, compensation is on par with other gov organizations, opportunity for advancement, encouraged to think outside the box and to be creative.

    Cons

    Horrible work life balance, senior management interested in continuously improving things - even when there is no need, up our out FS system makes employees overly competitive, serious cultural divide between FS and CS.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sometimes things are not broken. Don't try to fix everything - over and over again.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    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)

    I have been working at US Department of State as an intern for less than a year

    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
  11.  

    Great place to work

    • 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

    Pros

    Interesting subject matter, stability, life-work balance

    Cons

    Heavy bureaucracy in moving papers

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