US Department of State

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US Department of State Reviews

Updated 17 October 2014
Updated 17 October 2014
349 Reviews
3.9
349 Reviews
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US Department of State Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
94 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • See the world while serving your country (in 14 reviews)

  • If you work for the Foreign Service, you get to see the world in so many meaningful ways (in 28 reviews)


Cons
  • The biggest turn off for me were actually the foreign service officers (in 31 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  

    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

  2.  

    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
  3.  

    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
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  5.  

    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
  6.  

    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
  7.  

    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
  8.  

    Big Government in a Small Department

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

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

    Pros

    Unique opportunities to see exotic parts of the world
    Dynamic environment
    Critical function in providing diplomacy for the U.S.
    Great opportunity to meet people from far off places.

    Cons

    Bureaucracy, bureaucracy
    Small offices, Large personalities
    Stovepipes and silos slow progress and increase frustration.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stronger strategic vision and plan
    Breakdown stovepipes and silos

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Foreign Service: Excellent benefits, rewarding work, frustrating culture at times

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

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

    Pros

    Being a US Foreign Service Officer or Specialist with the State Department can be a really rewarding career and an exciting lifestyle- assuming you can be honest with yourself and your family. The ability to travel the world (a different country every 1-3 years), serve the American People, and get excellent benefits such as education repayment (for service in hardship posts only), free housing (though not always what you'd choose- but free), and generous pensions and TSP matching is unrivaled. In general the working hours are less than the private sector (though the job will take as much time as you give it)

    Cons

    The lifestyle is not for everyone. Spousal work arrangements can vary widely from country to country, childcare and education opportunities can be frustrate, and the profound lack of continuity of a long-term "home" are not to be scoffed at. Inndividual embassies nad offices can change radically depending on personnel who are constantly rotating. An excellent culture both socially and professionally can change overnight with the departure of a colleague, or even the change of Ambassador with profound ramifications. The promotion and evaluation system is very complicated, and seeming dullards can sometimes advance to levels beyond their abilities wreaking havoc on local staff and junior American staff (not necessarrily junior in age).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Commission a new outside study to hopefully improve the employee evaluation system. Also, perhaps revise the bidding system for onward assignments for mid-level officers to match that of entry-level officers.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Great internship

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

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

    Pros

    paid, open door policies, everyone willing to share their experiences and help you grow. great for students

    Cons

    you're either doing nothing or too much

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    create more structure in the internship programs, like a mandatory project or presentation. sometimes interns had to chase officers and ask for parts on a project

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Good experience at US Consulate General Guangzhou

    • 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 full-time

    Pros

    The work life balance of consular work is truly excellent and you will work with some of the most interesting people.

    Cons

    It is sometimes hard to create change because there are so many systems of approval.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow more contribution from FASTOs

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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