We don’t know about you, but we used to fantasize about our dream jobs as children. And–for many of us–those dream roles included glossy magazines, mile-high skyscraper offices, and writing in a big, shiny city. Ever wonder what it takes to work at some of the top publications on the planet? To find out, we sat down with editors at Hearst, and asked them how they landed their dream jobs in the fast-paced and ever-changing publishing landscape. Today, Kristin Canning, Associate Editor at Women’s Health, tells us how she ended up in her coveted role.

What does your job entail?

As an editor for Women’s Health magazine and womenshealthmag.com, I balance my time between pitching, writing and editing–covering fitness, health, mental health, food, relationships, and wellness entrepreneurs. When I’m not reporting my own stories, I assign projects to freelancers and collaborate with them and our art and photo teams to bring each article to life. Some of my favorite pieces I’ve worked on are our coverage of the #MeToo movement and its mental health impact, our Naked Truth package on body-positivity, our “Strength in Our Scars” photo essay–a personal essay about how looking back on my past social media has affected me–and a story on the power of small talk. Through my work in health/fitness media, I’ve covered the women’s World Cup, hiked to Machu Picchu and raced a half Ironman, Olympic triathlon, the NYC Marathon, two Ragnar Relays, and six half marathons around the country.

What was your first job out of college? How did you get it?

I started my career at Men’s Health magazine as a post-grad editorial intern, following a summer internship at SELF the year before, through the ASME Internship program. I got the Men’s Health gig because my resume was available to them through the ASME intern alum network, and they reached out. During that internship, I interviewed for and landed my first job as an editorial assistant at SELF. I knew some of the staff there from my internship, and they helped me connect with the editors who were hiring.

What was your college major, and did it matter for your career path?

I was a communications major, and I did feel like I needed that major at the time. Looking back, I think it’s more valuable to study in the area you want to write about (anthropology, science, music, film, for example), and get your writing experience through internships and on-campus opportunities with the student newspaper and magazine. That makes you more well-rounded while also having an area of expertise.

How did you land your current job?

The job I have now sort of came to me. I was freelancing before I got this job, and when my former editor, Liz Plosser, became the editor-in-chief of Women’s Health, she reached out to me about building her team, and the role was a great fit. I think keeping in touch with your former colleagues is one of the best ways to make sure you’re hearing about positions as soon as they become available.

What was the best/worst piece of advice you ever received?

The best advice I’ve ever received is to stay in touch with all your colleagues and let them know what kind of work you want to do. Whether you’re interested in freelancing or being on staff, you have to put yourself and your work out there so hiring editors know what you’re looking to work on and what you’re excited about and good at. That might mean sending a catch-up email, meeting for coffee every few months, or just staying in touch over social media.

The worst advice I’ve received is to highly edit/curate/filter your social media. Obviously, you want to put a professional face forward, but don’t let that keep you from showing your true personality. Some of the best stories I’ve gotten have been because I’ve shared something personal on social that led an editor to know I was interested in a certain topic. I used to be very hesitant about sharing any opinions on social media, and now I realize editors want to see who you are and what you think. Your ideas might not be for everyone, but having a social presence that’s true to you will pay off in helping you get jobs that are actually a good match for you down the road.

Related