For students who thought the closest they would get to a celebrity was Hugh Grant’s screening in February, a visiting alumna charted another path to fame on Friday afternoon.
Students and faculty got an inside look at the world of social media when Jessie Rubin, a member of the class of 2013, described her journey to her job as VH1’s social media coordinator at the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development. Her talk was a part of the “Cool Connections, Hot Alumni” series.
Rubin finished her freshman year at Binghamton University as a psychology major, but after an internship for Fox News at Sean Hannity’s show, she decided that working in media was what she was meant to do, and she became an English major.
At Fox, Rubin wrote about news and politics for Hannity’s public blog under her own name. She said this was the first time she received harsh feedback from her readers and employers.
“I had to get used to and learn from the criticism,” Rubin said. “It was hard for my ego, but I learned so much.”
Through her internship experiences at Fox News, MTV and VH1’s editorial department, Rubin said she was able to discover her passion for connecting with people. Today, Rubin manages all the social media accounts for VH1, including Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Vine and VH1’s blog. She also creates trending topics and hashtags for fans to discuss content from VH1 shows.
A typical day at work for Rubin also includes reading scripts for episodes of various VH1 shows like “Mob Wives” and “Love & Hip Hop” and creating GIFs and “vines” based on the events in the episode. She is also responsible for training celebrities on how to act on social media and live tweeting during shows.
According to Rubin, internships are vital, as is keeping in touch with previous coworkers and employees. She described how personal connections got her jobs at Hannity’s show and MTV, and keeping in contact with those people secured her a full-time job with VH1, which she interviewed for the day after graduation.
“Internship experience comes first,” Rubin said. “Explore your network and understand everyone in your network, and then stay in touch with all of those people. They want to help you in the end.”
Samantha Birns, a senior majoring in management, said she was impressed by Rubin’s proactive attitude toward networking and meeting new people.
“It was very inspiring to hear how much she accomplished during her college years,” Birns said. “I’m definitely going to use all of her advice to network and hopefully land my first entry-level job after graduation.”
Francis Borrego, senior assistant director for marketing and assessment at the Fleishman Center, said Rubin’s hands-on experience made her an easy choice to bring in as a speaker.
“There’s a lot of great career advice that students can learn from alumni,” Borrego said. “We know of the great things that Jessie is doing at VH1, so it was a no brainer that we would try to connect her with students in her field.”
Rubin was notable for her professional success, but also for her pride in her alma mater, said Sam Catalano, a junior majoring in management.
“I follow her on social media and she’s always trying to rep Binghamton — she’s always proud to be a Bearcat,” Catalano said. “A lot of people forget about Binghamton when they graduate, but she definitely hasn’t.”