News & Insights

2021 Associate Program FAQ

By RF|Binder

We took the most frequently asked questions from Associate candidates, and sent them to our employees who have been in the Program in previous years. These are their answers in their own words

What does a typical day look like for an Associate?

Working as an associate is like working at a dynamic start-up — no day looks the same, but you’ll get a world of experience wearing different hats. From building relationships with key media contacts on your own, to thinking through social media strategy and being an integral part of the team on calls and in meetings, you’ll have your hands full. Day-to-day responsibilities include:

  • email correspondence
  • drafting pitches
  • media monitoring
  • research projects
  • brainstorming
  • building social content calendars
  • sourcing and communicating with influencers
  • media list building and outreach, securing media interview/stories
  • content development, including blog posts, press releases op eds, newsletters, and recaps
  • staffing and organizing experiential marketing events
  • general account team management (trackers, timelines, etc.)

While this is the work on a typical day, every day will bring new developments.

What is your favorite thing about working at RF|Binder?

  • There is an air of empathy of RF|Binder. It’s what allows curiosity and passion to guide what we do — every voice, at any level, is heard and taken seriously.
  • We are an independent, majority woman-owned business
  • The people who work here.
  • I love that RF|Binder makes me feel like I play an important role here even as an Associate, and that personal career growth is at the forefront of all the experiences here.
  • We have a relatively flat structure – everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves and contribute, regardless of their title.
  • Our clients!
  • In the Associate Program, you have other Associates to bounce ideas off of, problem-solve with, and relate to. Many Associates become life-long friends thanks to the program.
  • You really have the opportunity to build your career at RF|Binder. If you have a vision for where you want to go and what you want to do, your team and leadership will support you on your journey there.

How would you describe the culture at RF|Binder?

RF|Binder has a positive, collaborative and entrepreneurial culture where people are excited to come to work every day, collaborate with their colleagues, be passionate about what they are doing, focus on driving impact to their clients, and are curious and eager to learn in order to grow on a personal and professional level as well as to positively impact their teams and firm.  Here’s how some of us describe our culture:

  • Collaborative. Everyone in this office is always eager to instruct, assist, and connect in ways that strengthen not only the work we do and the teams we’re on, but our individual characters.
  • We believe in “doing life” together to build community. RF|Binder encourages events, clubs and activities outside of day-to-day work.
  • Hungry. Our employees drive impact for our clients while also taking advantages of opportunities for growth in their own careers.
  • The culture is all about cultivating curiosity and constantly learning something new.

I’m still choosing classes for my final semester. Were there any classes that gave you valuable skills for your work as an Associate?

At RF|Binder, we are seeking individuals with an array of experiences and perspectives. No specific coursework or concentration is required to work here. That being said, many of our team members suggested the following classes could be helpful:

  • Film & Media Studies
  • Digital Asset and Graphics
  • Any class where you’re writing a lot of essays — most upper-level Comms classes have long-term writing assignments that make you develop a strategy/approach, research a topic and then condense that information.
  • Entrepreneurship — they’ll get you thinking outside the box!
  • Presentation Building or Public Speaking
  • Classes that require a lot of research or that teach you research-based skills/tools (i.e. Simmons, MRI, LexisNexus, etc.)
  • Psychology and Sociology courses
  • Political Science
  • English and History Courses
  • Foreign Languages

What are the most important skills and qualities for an Associate?

  • Be a sponge. Listen to everything and write it down.
  • An Associate is someone who can multi-task, is focused, is a strong writer and communicator, is personable and has a willingness to learn.
  • Being proactive is key–raising your hand, checking in with managers, and approaching every challenge with a proposed solution. Make it known that you’re there and excited to roll up your sleeves, ask tons of questions, and never be afraid to volunteer to take a stab on an assignment, no matter how hard it may seem. This is the key to becoming an integral team member.
  • The ability to adapt and learn quickly.
  • Resilience! It takes patience and hard work to succeed, as well as an attention to detail.
  • I appreciate honesty and those who advocate for their time and passion. We grow and improve as a team when every person, no matter their position, is able to provide feedback.
  • Learn how to manage your time, but don’t feel like you need to do it alone. Tap your managers to help prioritize on day 1 and beyond.
  • Be detail oriented – check your work and then again.

What is your advice to an Associate candidate in the interview process?

  • Ask lots of questions, and follow up with even more questions. You’ll be asking a lot of questions as an Associate – it’s just the nature of the work. Asking for help, or for more information about something you don’t completely understand, is absolutely essential if you want to learn, grow, and succeed.
  • Do research! As an Associate research is a critical skill – learn about who you are interviewing with, know about RF|Binder and our clients.
  • Come ready to speak about what kind of news you read/what interests you about media
  • Be authentic. We know interviews are about setting yourself apart, and oftentimes the best way to do that is to show your true personality. Don’t forget to discuss your passions and interests outside of work!
  • Highlight your strengths, but don’t rely on credentials alone. Our interviews are both casual and professional because we want to get to know the people we will work with.

What else should Associate candidates know?

  • The Associate Program is such a rewarding opportunity and I am extremely grateful to be here. I would rather be at RF|Binder in this program than any other communications firm because here, I am invested in, I am listened to, and I am respected. I don’t feel like I am a part of a machine but I am a part of a team. There are so many opportunities to learn and grow if you take advantage of them. I also love the amount of responsibility entrusted to me and the amazing feedback everyone gives really helping me see my growth in real time.
  • This is a fantastic place to work – it is a dynamic, welcoming and highly educational work environment.
  • At RF|Binder you will learn more in the first 3 months than years of classes in college. If you are ready to jump into communications – this is the place to be!

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