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, we’re talking to Jessica Goodman, Senior Editor at Cosmopolitan, and author of the upcoming YA novel The Players’ Table from Razorbill/ Penguin Teen. She breaks down how she landed her coveted position below.

What does your role entail, and which roles did you have prior to Cosmo?

I’m a senior editor on Cosmo’s lifestyle section, which covers career, entertaining, travel, personal finance, food, and home décor. I also work on political and newsy features for Cosmopolitan.com. Before working at Cosmo, I was an entertainment editor at HuffPost and a Digital News Editor at Entertainment Weekly.

What was your first job out of college? 

While I was still a student at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, the administration put a huge emphasis on the career fair, which is where I met a recruiter from HuffPost. At the time, she was hiring to fill slots in their summer fellowship program. She and I kept in touch after the career fair and I applied, interviewed, and landed a spot. The fellowship was supposed to last between three to six months and after three months I was offered a full-time associate editor position on the entertainment team. I stayed there for two years as an associate editor and then an editor.

What was your college major? Did you feel like you needed to be a journalism major in order to be an editor?

Creative writing, which was a concentration in UPenn’s English department. I definitely don’t think you need to be a journalism major in order to be an editor. It certainly helps to have some experience, either through internships or working on your school’s newspaper or magazine, but a journalism major won’t make or break your future in media.

What internships did you do prior to your first job?

The summer between my junior and senior year, I interned at Rolling Stone magazine. The following summer, I interned at New York magazine. I also worked part-time writing blog posts for the Village Voice’s food blog while in journalism school.

How did you land your current job? What were the steps you took?  

I had always loved Cosmopolitan and had dreamed of working under that bright pink logo. Throughout my first few years working full-time, I applied and interviewed for a handful of jobs here. Even though I didn’t get any of those positions, I was able to meet and maintain relationships with a handful of editors and Hearst recruiters, which only deepened my desire to work here one day. Then, in 2017, a few positions opened up on the print team. I contacted the HR department and asked to be considered. Soon after that, I interviewed with the executive editor, completed an edit test, and interviewed with the editor-in-chief. I was offered a senior editor position soon after.

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

The best piece of advice I ever got was to be nice to everyone—the interns, the assistants, the higher-ups. Some people are quick to pass over anyone who isn’t in a position of power and that is 100% the wrong way to operate! Some of my strongest relationships in this industry are with former interns and assistants who have gone on to do super exciting projects. Celebrating with them and keeping abreast of their accomplishments is such a joy. And because the industry is small, you never know who you’ll work with again.

The worst piece of advice I ever got was that you have to maintain a 24/7 social media presence and have something like 50k followers to succeed. Of course, I’ve found great writers through Twitter and sources through Instagram, but being able to produce a clean, well-reported story is just as important as having a viral tweet. Plus, for some people, social media can create intense burnout and inferiority complexes. Do what works for you and don’t freak out if your Insta is all dimly lit photos of your cute cat.

Related