U.S. Department of State

Working at U.S. Department of State: Company Overview and Reviews

U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
1123 reviews
U.S. Department of State Ratings
Average rating of 1123 reviews on Indeed
3.9Work-Life Balance
4.0Pay & Benefits
3.8Job Security & Advancement
Washington, DC

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Overall Reviews at U.S. Department of State

Specialist | Minneapolis, MN | Jul 17, 2019
Toxic Management
I had high hopes for this job, but it ended up being oppressive and unfulfilling. The reason was largely due to inexperienced, insecure, and biased management. Because it is one of the newer passport offices, they allow Foreign Service Officers to rotate into the director position. This means the director changes every 2-3 years. This is a bad idea for a number of reasons, not the least of which is unstable leadership. When the person subordinate to the director is a narcissistic bully, the workforce can never be high performing because people are not empowered to make decisions. This office had high turnover when I worked there. High turnover in any job is usually a bad thing. High turnover in a government position that goes to a GS-11 should raise multiple red flags. I thought the turnover was odd, but trying to be positive I reasoned that people must do really well and get promoted out quickly. I will never make that mistake again. The deputy director in this office behaved very poorly (and that's putting it mildly) toward me while I was there, to the point that I was forced to file a complaint. This person scoured the internet to find incriminating things about me, took personally a published article I’d written and then tried to use it to defend themselves against my complaint. This type of boundary crossing was not surprising coming from that individual, but I was floored that agency leadership supported such behavior. Once you get into the management club you are bulle
Security Specialist | Mexico, MO | Oct 2, 2019
Challenging work environment
• Member of a Worldwide Protective Services team (WPS) as a Personal Security Specialist (PSS) • Provide comprehensive protective personnel security and force protection during high threat operations to support U.S. Department of State operations, assigned to Afghanistan. • Perform day-to-day protective security functions and train to maintain proficiency • Drive lead, limo, or follow-vehicle as required in motorcade operations • Maintain protective formation position during principal's movements • Conduct tactical site surveys and vulnerability assessments when necessary • Participate in advance security preparations and manning security posts as required • Qualify quarterly and operate weapons as specified: M9, M4, M240, M249, M203, & shotgun • Assigned to the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) under the direction of the U.S. Department of State Merida Initiative to establish law enforcement professionalization and training programs for the Mexican state and municipal police agencies throughout the country of Mexico. • Team leader as a tactical subject matter expert (SME): completed course curriculum and lead instruction for Instructor Development, Officer Survival (tactical operations & firearms), Community Oriented Policing, Firearms, Narcotics, First Line Supervision and Police Professionalism courses. The curriculum consisted of research, facilitators guide, lesson plans, and PowerPoint presentations for each particular course of instructio
ProsRoom and board provided
ConsStressful and very dangerous
Administrative Assistant | Washington, DC | Oct 2, 2012
Great work Enviorment
Prepared the annual competency report that involved gathering data, analyzing information and graphical interpretations. •Participated in the establishment of programs goals and objectives for competency programs which ensured non- credential employee are competent when hired and competencies are maintained. •Work the database that to track all required licensure, certifications, orientation and training. •Conferred with the HR Liaison officer on marketing of programs and goals. •Inspected, facilitated, recommended and implemented approved changes to the Human resources joint commission of Accredited Hospital Organization Program. •Used multiple systems to create and delete files; search files/records; store or extract materials from a variety of software packages; transmit large amounts of information; and reports. •Provided guidance, interpretations, training and/or briefings on current and proposed policies for assigned civilian, contractor, and military personnel action program(s) to a variety of individuals, managers and key officials. •Provided logistical and operational support, meeting minutes, setting up conference calls, for army teams worldwide. •Responded to telephonic/electronic/written inquiries in reference to the management of enlisted soldiers. •Provided high level administrative support •Served as a receptionist, which included answering telephones, relaying messages, making appointments, and providing information about staff schedules & office routines •Ac
Conscontract ended
Service Delivery Officer | Washington, DC | Jan 4, 2022
Interesting assignments with leadership of varied quality.
Working as a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State has may ups and downs. I enjoy the job after about 11 years and assignments in 5 countries. Some of my assignments have been in places you'd likely want to visit as a tourist, some have been in places you would only go if ordered. Your priorities can change a lot whenever a new President is elected, so you have to be able to accept such changes and may end up promoting policies with which you disagree. Changing locations every 1-3 years can be both a pro and a con. On the pro side, you do not stagnate in a single role and are always learning how to operate in new environments. On the con side, it can seem that you have to leave just when you are really developing the subject matter expertise and local connections needed to excel in your role. The organization is currently making a big push to improve Diversity and Inclusion in hiring, assignment selection, and promotion processes. It will likely be a few years before we see if any of this makes any positive difference. In the past, distribution of prestigious assignments has been given based on one's reputation with and connections in a controlling Bureau. Critics say that this basically creates impenetrable "old boys' networks" that can serve as unfair barriers to entry. Promotions have slowed in recent years. Although you are eligible to be considered for a promotion after 3 years at a given rank, in reality promotions are taking much longer. Th
ProsInternational Travel, Overseas Living, Interesting and motivated colleagues.
ConsPolitically appointed leadership, Distance from family and friends
Clerk | Washington, DC | Aug 3, 2015
Shannon's Review
Throughout my career, I have maintained the highest performance standards within a diverse range of administrative functions. But in particular, I want to highlight my security experience in detail. I offer a 3 year track record in security and you will benefit from my following key strengths. Successful track record supporting the efforts of executive level staff, including Directors, VPS, military officials as well as a president of a company, coordinating all outgoing and incoming guests. Ability to handle high-stress environments. Experience in a variety of work environments. I have gained the necessary skills and knowledge to develop and maintain comprehensive administrative processes that improve the efficiency of day-to-day operations. Ability to make informed decisions quickly, and execute those decisions with confidence. State, Federal Government, DOD and Military experience. Computer expertise with proficiency in all Microsoft office programs. (Word, Excel, Power Point, Access, Outlook) A proven reputation with a consistent history of exemplary performance reviews and recognition. My personal service, administration and management skills along with my ability to multitask would make me a great candidate for the supervisor position. I have the knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, leadership techniques, production methods, and coordination of people and resources. I work extremely well with people and I
ProsIT hands on experience, creating data bases, working with Visas, passports, SEVIS, training new employees, and leadership
Contract Manager | Manassas, VA | Dec 10, 2013
6/2000 to 04/2009: Defense Contract Management Agency, Manassas, VA. Hours: 40 +, Procurement Technician/Contracting, GS-1106-06, $55,000 annually. Worked with other government agencies included Department of State. Worked with the Budget Department and MOCAS accounting database regarding financial matters on contracting issues. Gathered and administered travel arrangements and travel vouchers for the team. Provided analytical studies, product buying, projects and resolutions to procurement issues such as purchasing of computer software and hardware. Prepared procurement packages by gathering, correlating, analyzing, determining and recommending action to resolve any discrepancies. Worked closely regarding regulations on FARS and DFAR. Operated personal computer and utilizes various software packages to provide graphs and spreadsheets on various forms and statistical data. Knowledge of management and program analysis methods, policies and procedures necessary to interview, gather and evaluate factual information to ensure other staff members are provided accurate data portraying the performance and analysis of contracting issues. Worked with team members regarding contracting management issues and offers assistance in studies and projects related to management improvement, productivity and other management issues. Purchased supplies, office equipment and other items with government credit card. Used various credit card and reconciliation databases and software.
ProsGood Benefits, Took an early retirement from this position
ConsCommute Too Far
IT Security Specialist | Washington, DC | Jan 25, 2017
DOS Review
The typical day was always challenging, I would meet with the morning shift team members, discuss any issues and receive a briefing on things that required a follow-up. I learned so much from working at DCB, from designing custom applications that were used in DCB and SSO offices. I learned a lot about the work flow, daily tasks and the types of applications that would increase their production and productivity. I interacted well with management, their guidance ensured that tasks, projects and issues were completed in a timely manner. The work place culture was dynamic, everyone had a specific role and task to perform, still they found humor and time to smile, make an observation or comment about some thing or an event that made the news. The hardest part of this job was seeing people that I had established a friendship, were nearing or at retirement most people that left the job were somewhat wishful that they could have stayed longer. The friendships that I established during my three year tenure were priceless, everyone was like family which is really unique in its own way. I still miss that friendship and bonding that I had established there. Last by not least, I enjoyed making a difference in so many of my coworkers' day to day tasks, just seeing them use the applications I developed gave me a sense of pride in knowing that I had made their daily tasks easier to perform.
ProsThe free candy, fruits food, soda provided during the holidays was great!
ConsI really cannot recall any negatives that affected me.
Administration Manager | Jordan, MN | Sep 20, 2014
Great benefits, fun travel to a variety of countries, interesting people and cultures to learn about.
Typical Day: Schedule varied depending on visiting dignitaries or local emergencies; meet and greet as needed; oriented new arrivals at embassy; met with staff re schedule and needs; made arrangements for conferences working with local vendors/media; consulted with head of Admin re any special needs/requests; stepped in for Ambassadors secy as needed; Created and edited documents for head of Admin and Security. Fielded calls from various levels of govt. Arranged for new computer installation. Learned how to work and socialize with a variety of cultural differences and peoples - learned new ways of thinking and reasoning as a result. As manager of several locals, became more tolerant of different ways of doing things and different behaviors/personalities. Learned how to facilitate meetings where discussions could get heated, and learned to move meetings along when stalled. Learned how to express my self in a business setting more diplomatically . Hardest part: new place and culture to learn every 3 years; trying to learn Arabic. Most enjoyable: Travel, interesting people and places, wonderful new foods, great benefits, education unavailable in schools, free travel back to US each year to visit family.
ProsTravel to interesting places, meeting a variety of people, free travel to U.S. each year to visit family
ConsMoving every 3 years, area moved to could be uncomfortable/dangerous.
Service Delivery Officer | Washington, DC | Jun 28, 2013
The Department was/is like any large Federal bureaucracy, offering good opportunities, but sometimes frustrating and impersonal.
As I held numerous very different positions as a Foreign Service Officer in the Department of State, I cannot possibly describe a typical day. What was most challenging about the work was that very fact and knowing that any given day could present large challenges in dealing with my own organization and foreign counterparts. Top management had fiscal, political, and other restrictions and I sympathized more with those difficulties as I rose in the ranks and had to face them myself. Co-workers were often intelligent, talented people, but there were many exceptions to that description and any number of Foreign Service personnel burned out or could not handle the work for diverse reasons. The hardest part of the job was constantly moving from country to country and being stationed in Washington, D.C. for only 1/4 to 1/3 of my career. The pressure on myself and my family was huge. The other side of that coin is the delightful opportunities to live in other countries, not just visit them as a tourist, and usually being trained in the social, cultural, economic, and political norms and peculiarities as well as learning other languages.
ProsTravel, meeting large numbers of new and fascinating people, and learning new skills.
ConsPressure on myself and my family due to constant moves, and some frustrations with the large bureaucracy.
Manager | Washington, DC | Feb 3, 2014
Excellent job!
Work is fast paced, busy, and the pile never gets small but it's filled with opportunity to learn, network, and ultimately be a well rounded individual. I learned how to juggle mutliple projects with multiple deadlines. Excellent presentation skills and team oriented work loads were two great areas of growth for me. Management has an open door policy with employees to come in and discuss work related issues. Working for a federal department generally means most of the workers are tied to the military. This was an adjustment for me having only ever been a civilian but have grown to really like the atmosphere. The hardest part is adjusting to the pace and work load. Sometimes answers are slow to come from the top and can stall projects. Other times they come too quickly accompanied with dozens of other answers and can seem overwhelming. This ultimately helped me understand how to juggle and maintain multiple projects at once. The best part of my job is going out and meeting the folks that work at the Department and engage with them in everyday life. Truly, the State Department has a wonderful base of employees who love where they work and what they are working on. Wonderful place to work and I encourage all to seek an opportunity here.
ProsLots of opportunity, friendly working environment, great place to build skills, excellent place to network and learn more.
ConsAt times can feel overwhelming with work load
Legal Advisor | Kabul | May 19, 2016
A prestigious work place where some the best intellects work
My typical day at work started 30 minutes before the official time for the job with a cup of coffee and then having group meeting with my administrative staff in the head office. Then, I used to contact the regional team leaders at our local offices to set the objective for the day to be achieved. After that I used to work on my reports about the progress of the project made so far and sending them to the upper level of managerial staff. During the day I was always available to answer the contacts made by the regional team members to solve any problem they faced while fulfilling their daily objective of the project. Also, one of my biggest tasks was checking in on my staff and assessed their progress on various projects. I used to met first thing on Monday to discuss our priorities for the week, then met again in the middle of the week to check the progress, and met once at the end of the week to discuss goal setting for the next week. I met with smaller groups of my staff during the middle of the week to troubleshoot any issues. For example, during meeting, I noticed one team was a few days behind on a long-term project. I met with the team and, together, we came up with a strategy for increasing efficiency among the team. Along with constant interaction with my team, I also attended a weekly board meeting where I presented my department’s progress to the executive board. On Fridays, once all these tasks were completed, I made sure I have completed all necessar
ProsCoopration with and Support of the staff.
Community Liaison | Maseru | Aug 14, 2014
Excellent work environment and benefits
My work schedule started at 8:30, but I began working before 8:30 to have time to review any pending issues or due reports and check my appointments for the day to organize my day accordingly. Then I would check my emails and respond in order of importance. If any issues arise from any of these messages, I would mark them with a color flag (red/urgent, orange/urgent in a lesser degree, etc.) to represent their level of importance to tackle them in that order as the day went by. As my customer were my number one concern, I had set times, in a daily basis, for appointment and/or walk-ins However, if they needed to come to see me outside this time frame, they were always welcomed to do it. I had an open door policy. My job thought me the benefits of being extremely organized in order to fulfill my clients expectations yet staying on top of all other responsibilities which meant staying on top of projects, submitting reports in a timely manner, organizing quality events, etc. I also learned to be flexible. Things happened when we least expect it and you need to be able to adjust to the situation and excel. I learned to live one day at a time. I worked under little or no supervision. However, I make sure to schedule a bi-weekly meeting with my manager to bring him up to date and provide him with the status of projects, reports, events, etc., and to request his input and/or advise, if necessary. This meeting time also allowed him to provide any new/important information pert
ProsExcellent benefits and a great opportunity to see the world while working.
ConsMoving from one place to another leaving friends and people behind can be difficult at times.
Ambassador | Kabul | Dec 5, 2015
Great contract to work on
Force Protection Team Leader – Supervised 52 site security team members. Prepared contingency plans and maintained a capacity to counter direct and indirect threats against DynCorp / US Department of State installations. I furnished immediate tactical response and deployment to security incidents emanating from critical priority resources. Supported intelligence specialist with the dissemination of security information obtained from classified and open sources (OSINT). I aided special projects to include regulations, policies, procedures, training, and operations. Trained American/International guard force in identifying improvised explosive devices such as vehicle borne, and body borne IED’s within the perimeter of the DynCorp / US Department of State compound. I conducted in depth CQB/MOUNT training quarterly for all American, Nepalese and South African security members. Personal Security Detail Team Leader – Supervised the Personal Security Detail for members of the Police Mentor Team in Orgune, Afghanistan as well as other visiting VIPs from DynCorp, State Dept., Dept. of Defense, etc. Various assignments included transportation of personnel to locations within the mission area and providing security for the mission. Other duties included site security upon arrival at mission destination as needed. Responsible for QRF Team rotation while at the FOB in Orgune splitting the duty with the U.S. Army and Blackwater personnel Interviewing and vetting of local and third coun
Prosgreat pay and great work environment
Conskept me away from home
Security Specialist | Al Başrah | Sep 18, 2014
Life as a Contractor in Iraq.
Working overseas supporting the State Department(US Embassy) in Iraq was quite a challenge and involved a lot of personal sacrifice. Deploying for three months at a time required one to be motivated, disciplined, capable of making decisions in stressful situations, and still managing a family life that was thousands of miles away. A typical workday (which was everyday except maybe Friday), involved ensuring that all teams scheduled to participate in missions had necessary information regarding said missions such as event, venue, client, intel reports and threat analyses, as well as individual team roles in the execution of the mission. During the execution of the missions, my role was simply to keep Teams and my superiors informed of any significant changes that may affect personnel safety or security. At the end of the day, after action reports were discussed if there were any significant incidents or lessons learned, otherwise, it was a simple briefing of the following days schedule and execution of those missions. In nine years of working for the US Embassy in Iraq, I was able to hone skills such as conflict resolution, threat assessment, mission planning, staff supervision, classroom instruction, coaching and mentoring, conducting site surveys, executive briefing/reporting and maintaining client relations. The hardest part of the job was easily isolation from everything that most people see as everyday living. Being away from family and having a life outside of w
ProsWorking with outstanding people and being well compensated.
ConsBeing away from loved ones.

Questions And Answers about U.S. Department of State

What are the minimum educational requirements to work for the state department. Currently I am working on my associates degree I wonder if choosing a particular major will be more useful than any major of my choice.
Asked Mar 2, 2017
Answered Mar 19, 2019
Strong College Back Ground Being very initiative minded. Showing support and talents in areas of operations
Answered Nov 9, 2017
How long does it take to get hired from start to finish at U.S. Department of State? What are the steps along the way?
Asked Aug 10, 2016
Can take 6 months to 1 year or more. Security clearance required which can add time to the hiring process.
Answered Jan 4, 2018
Steps are different for different positions
Answered Dec 2, 2017
What is the interview process like at U.S. Department of State?
Asked Aug 10, 2016
Pretty straightforward panel interview
Answered Sep 28, 2019
My interview was for the Student Trainee (Passport) Pathways Internship program in Seattle, WA. My initial interview was mostly a behavioral style interview; asking questions regarding certain situations I may have been in customer service.
Answered Apr 26, 2018
How long does it usually take before a person hear back with their background check? And actually start the position?
Asked Aug 5, 2016
6 to 12 months
Answered Dec 6, 2017
It depends
Answered Nov 6, 2017
How did you get your first interview at U.S. Department of State?
Asked Jul 6, 2016
School Counselor
Answered Mar 20, 2019
They got in touch with me from putting information about grand mother in the state department for help taking care of her.
Answered Sep 24, 2017