US Department of State

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  www.state.gov

US Department of State Reviews

Updated 18 December 2014
Updated 18 December 2014
373 Reviews
3.9
373 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
106 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.  

    Intern with the Department of State.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Intern in London, England
    Former Employee - Intern in London, England

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    I was extremely happy with my decision to intern for the Department of State while studying abroad. It was an invaluable experience and I learned a tremendous amount. It is a fantastic opportunity to gain knowledge in diplomacy and to be treated like an FSO while working for the embassy in order to truly grasp what it means to be a diplomat. FSO's get to travel the world and have immense policy influence in times and places of crisis.

    Cons

    Work-life balance is poor. You move every two years or so which can be difficult on relationships and family. The bureaucracy of the State Department can become very frustrating. Long hours of work and you're always on call.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Good Summer Internship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Intern in Edinburgh, Scotland
    Current Employee - Intern in Edinburgh, Scotland

    I have been working at US Department of State as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Ability to work on a diverse array of interesting projects and interact with high level government officials in the country to which you are posted.

    Cons

    There is a lot of bureaucracy within the State Department and this can be see in there slow adoption of technology. Some of the technology systems are built in house and are flat out terrible to work with.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Good company

    • 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 (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Not too bad to work for, fairly good training opportunities and pay is okay. Best thing is the colleagues , many of which have worked for years with each other.

    Cons

    Not very good with other benefits such as flexi working , seem to be behind the times. Management changes every few years which can be challenging

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    intern

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    constant evaluation allowed me to improve all the time

    Cons

    some time the constant evaluation can be intimidating

  6.  

    London Embassy internship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Intern in London, England
    Former Employee - Intern in London, England

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    The city is, of course, extraordinary and the people working at the embassy are an impressive group city. Most FSOs have come from hardship areas and are treasure troves of information about various parts of the world. Because of the embassy's size there are many different agencies represented in the building, which provides a good opportunity to speak with people carrying out a variety of missions for the US Government. Also, the embassy and the UK's central position in US European policy means that a lot is happening around the embassy at any given time.

    Cons

    The mission's size is as much a detriment as it is a benefit. FSOs don't have the time to brainstorm for projects and didn't seem too compelled to bring the interns into their work unless the interns made a push to be involved. This is most frustrating for interns who don't have well-defined interests or a specific topic or region they would like to focus on during their tenure. Also, the internship is unpaid, without housing or transportation stipends of any sort.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    A more formal, structured intern program would help the interns feel better connected to and more engaged in the embassy's work.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great experience, good benefits, hard work

    • 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 (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    You get to really be at the front lines of diplomacy. The job of a foreign service officer is very well respected and the benefits are great (free housing, home leave, medical care). Plus, you get to see the world.

    Cons

    Moving every few years can become wearing. The Dept. of State is very much USG and as such there is a high level of bureaucracy to navigate.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Flexibility with part-time or leave without pay after people become parents would probably help with employee retention.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Passport Clerk

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Passport Clerk in London, England
    Former Employee - Passport Clerk in London, England

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    -Pay is rather well provided it was an easy job.
    -Great group of fellow co-workers and the environment was wonderful.

    Cons

    -Difficult to get hired provided weak UK economy and 100s of applications per job posted.
    -Even with a Bachelors degree it was difficult to get this position that requires only a high school diploma.
    -Security Clearance is a bit of a pain due to length of process.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    U.S. Department of State Internship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - FPU Intern in London, England
    Former Employee - FPU Intern in London, England

    I worked at US Department of State as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    You get to see the world, you get a sense of importance and duty, you get to serve your country. One of the best places to network due to fluidity of workforce. I had good management. Had the opportunity to meet famous people, particularly in politics.

    Cons

    A bit of an elitist atmosphere, a little bureaucratic, as and FSO you are forced to relocated every couple of years. You dedicate your life to the job. Many Internships (as was mine) are unpaid.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Foreign Service - The Best Job in the Government

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

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    Living overseas, variety of positions, excellent training opportunities, travel galore, high level of responsibility very early on in your career, excellent work-life balance, outstanding benefit package including pension and Thrift Savings Plan (government 401k).

    Cons

    Limited choice of opportunities early in career, possible separation of family for some danger post assignments (Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.), long hours and weekend work possible depending on assignment, changing positions and countries every 2-4 years is required but up to 5 years is possible in Washington, DC. Limited reward for performance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Compensation is oftentimes lacking for those that work hard. Human Resources system is broken.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Overseas Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Pol/EconOne of the "-stans"
    Current Employee - Pol/EconOne of the "-stans"

    I have been working at US Department of State as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Great opportunity to get experience in diplomacy. "You'll get the most out of this and we'll get the most out of you if we treat you like an FSO, so that's what we're going to do." Housing was provided, although this isn't as likely in some of the European posts. Great way to experience foreign culture, and one of the few USG internships that you can do overseas.

    Cons

    The expat community can be pretty insular. Workload was bipolar- sometimes we had too much work and were struggling to keep up, other times I came into work and read the news all day.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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