News & Insights

2022 Associate Program FAQ

By RF|Binder

RF|Binder associates standing together.

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:

  • drafting pitches and social media content
  • sourcing and communicating with influencers
  • building social content calendars
  • staffing and organizing experiential marketing events
  • media list building and outreach, securing media interview/stories
  • content development, including blog posts, press releases op eds, newsletters, and recaps
  • keeping up with industry trends and news
  • producing research and insights
  • media monitoring
  • general account team management (trackers, timelines, etc.)
  • note taking during internal and client meetings
  • brainstorming
  • prioritizing tasks and communicating with teams and managers on evolving client needs
  • handling email correspondence with internal teams as well as with clients, media contacts, influencers, and other professional connections

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?

  • 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.
  • Our clients!
  • 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.
  • I enjoy being part of a team that applauds the ideas and work of someone in the younger generation, where inclusion is felt at the core and therefore, my voice and craft matters. The opportunity to be vocal and comfortable as one takes on and works with big and reputable clients is everything to me.
  • My favorite thing about working at RF|Binder is the people. All of my colleagues are so nice and go above and beyond to help Associates transition into an agency environment. Whether it is learning a new PR skill or receiving great career advice, I have had so many amazing teaching moments from senior colleagues.
  • The opportunity to work with industry-leading, highly regarded clients from day one!
  • My favorite thing about working at RF|Binder is the collaborative culture. I like having small teams and proactive colleagues that make it easy to correspond with daily. Everyone within the company is really supportive and always willing to help out and answer questions. It was important for me to have a space that would allow me to grow in my career and RF| Binder definitely provides that opportunity!
  • We have a relatively flat structure – everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves and contribute, regardless of their title.
  • The people! I am surrounded by incredibly smart and caring individuals, and am proud to call them my teammates. 

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 and curious. The people that I work with are always there to support me, and lend a hand when needed. I also think that my colleagues are very curious and have a love of learning as well as thinking outside the box.
  • We believe in “doing life” together to build community. RF|Binder encourages events, clubs and activities outside of day-to-day work.
  • RF|Binder has an authentic, promising, and growing culture. Since 2020, the team has faced challenges, however, RF|Binder remains grounded in their purpose and I find the team constantly investing in themselves, equally in their clients, and the opportunities that are offered to powerfully make an impact no matter how small. The culture stimulates the minds of our creatives, associates, directors, and more so the possibilities are endless.
  • Caring, hardworking, supportive, and fun!
  • I would describe the culture as collaborative and engaging. Everyone is very open-minded and we all rely on each other to get tasks done. It’s also great that we can joke around and have fun events that make it feel more like a family and less like a work environment.
  • Supportive. Everyone here is rooting for your success and willing to jump in anywhere to help you achieve it!

What advice would you give to recent graduates entering a virtual workforce?

  • There’s never been a more incredible time to pursue and excel in one’s profession – virtually. With the right team, environment, and mindset, nothing can stop you from making an impact no matter how early you are on your journey. Use all the resources and tools at your disposal.
  • Prioritize self-care while working at home! Make time for getting outside for walks and catching up with your colleagues via Zoom.
  • Don’t be shy about connecting with colleagues! It’s easy to become so engrossed in your work that you forget to prioritize that under-estimated “water cooler talk” that happens in an office, where you get to share ideas and learn about your coworkers!
  • You have to figure out what works best for you. Be mindful that the schedule and habits that work for someone else may not work for you. Figure out how you best function and thrive virtually –- and make sure to give yourself room for learning! Working virtually is definitely a different experience for every person, but don’t be daunted by it –- once you find your groove, you’ll be able to navigate it a lot more easily.
  • Be as balanced as possible. It can be difficult to separate work life from home life, but it’s important to take time to step away and go for a walk or eat lunch.

How does RF|Binder keep employees connected and engaged in a virtual environment?

RF|Binder believes finding fun ways to stay connected remotely is essential to building a tight-knit, engaged team. We make sure to leave time outside of our client work for fun activities to get the creativity flowing. As such, we host meaningful activities such as volunteering events and out-of-the-box team building activities that range from creating music videos, to painting pumpkins, and “Walking Across America,” where teams are “racing” from NY to CA by tracking their steps. We have also stayed engaged with virtual wine tastings, cooking classes, popcorn & movie nights, game nights, and more; these events are complimented with care packages we send throughout the year.

  • RFB is great at keeping employees connected through virtual events, including coffee with mentors, wine tastings, cooking classes and game nights.
  • We have bi-weekly updates, where a fun question is asked and everyone gets to provide their answers. It’s a great, lighthearted way to learn more about our coworkers. We also have happy hours and bonding events virtually, like painting pumpkins at Halloween or our wine tasting and charcuterie boards. These are great ways for us to connect with each other even though we can’t be in person.
  • We stay engaged through the fun all-hands meetings where we share everything from good news, to challenging topics, to new initiatives, plus announcing recognitions, key client successes, and brainstorming conversations.
  • A few times a month, we plan virtual happy hours or game nights to take a break from our work and connect with one another.
  • Each Associate is partnered with a mentor and additionally has smaller group discussions with their teams whether it be Corporate and Finance, Food and Beverage, Nutrition or Education and so forth.

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

  • Be detail oriented – check your work and then again.
  • Being proactive is key – raise your hand, check in with managers, and approach 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.
  • Resilience! It takes patience and hard work to succeed, as well as an attention to detail.
  • Curiosity and love of learning are very important, especially as you work on a variety of client accounts across different industries. There is always more to learn, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or for clarification. Attention to detail and strong communication skills are important as well.
  • Be a sponge. Listen to everything and write it down.
  • Being open-minded, not afraid to ask questions, able to work well in teams, and being proactive.
  • Be adaptable, a creative thinker and a team player!
  • A confident leader with creativity, energy, and enthusiasm, and good management skills.
  • Autonomy, and accountability.
  • A strong Associate is someone who can multi-task, is focused, is a strong writer and communicator, is personable and has a willingness to learn.
  • 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.

What is the most surprising or interesting thing you’ve learned or done as an Associate?

  • The most interesting thing for me has been working on influencer campaigns. I enjoy the process of searching for influencers and working with them to bring a campaign to social media in an interactive way. It’s something I had never done before so it’s been great for me to learn all about it!
  • I’ve learned so much through my time as an Associate so far. I like that I’m constantly learning across a variety of industries, and have been able to work on both corporate and financial as well as consumer accounts.
  • I have learned that I love the adrenaline that working in PR can give you, such as working with media to secure an article or interview for your client. I also loved how quickly I was able to help write press releases and pitches for very well-known clients!
  • As an early PR and Marketing Associate, I have found my current work highly rewarding. For instance, unlike before, I now incorporate ESG reporting, data visualization inside some early-stage finance, fin-tech and sustainability brands and accounts. It’s interesting to know how many tools are accessible to build the right ESG strategies and frameworks for a client.

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

  • Be authentic and bring enthusiasm to all of your interviews! Show the interviewers you are excited to work at RF|Binder.
  • Embrace your success stories but do not be afraid of also embracing moments of vulnerability as it speaks to your purpose and the work you do that will benefit RF|Binder and the world.
  • Practice social awareness and understand what is happening in the world right now.
  • Be personable and professional. We want to know all about your experience and the skills you bring, but we also want to get to know you and how you would enjoy the culture at RF|Binder. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and show personality!
  • My biggest piece of advice is to ask questions, and do your research about our company and clients. Come prepared to speak about your background, and what client accounts or industries you’d be most excited to work on. Your interests and experience are really taken into account, so don’t be afraid to be honest and authentic.
  • Carry creativity, curiosity, voice, positivity, and a growth mindset.
  • First and foremost, breathe. In the end, unhealthy pressure is unhealthy. All you can do is trust yourself and your unique talents.

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:

  • One thing that I love about RFB is that the company celebrates people from diverse backgrounds. I’ve learned that there’s no “right” background to work here, but I definitely have learned a lot from my writing and research-based courses.
  • Writing for Media Relations – An opportunity to practice structuring and drafting a wide range of media materials, which Associates do often in their day-to-day work.
  • A Public Relations Campaign class
  • A class that teaches the PESO model!
  • Film & Media Studies
  • Sustainable Business Strategy
  • Marketing and Analytics
  • Digital Assets 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 else should Associate candidates know?

  • You’ll hit the ground running on your first day, and when you look back after a few months, you’ll be shocked (and pleased!) with how much you’ve already grown and strengthened key skills!
  • RF|Binder has been the perfect place to start my career. I truly have learned so much, and am surrounded by some of the smartest and most genuine people everyday. RF|Binder is a great place to grow, and Associates are able to gain firsthand experience and insight into many different industries and across client accounts. At RF|Binder, your growth and passions are accounted for, and people want to see you succeed.
  • Starting out at an agency provides you the launchpad you need to be able to handle anything the PR industry throws at you, and RF|Binder does an amazing job at molding you into a PR professional.
  • Don’t hesitate to take your resume to another level. Create something speaking uniquely to who you are and what you bring to the table. There are many ways one’s talents can stand out from the crowd when one is wise.
  • This is a fantastic place to work – it is a dynamic, welcoming and highly educational work environment.

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