So You Want to Be A Beauty Editor – Here's The Scoop

Her Conference is basically here, so I thought this would be the perfect time to give you an extra helping of tips and tricks on how to land your media dream job, straight from someone that managed to become a beauty editor by 23. Here’s a look at what an average day in my life is actually like, and how you can make the best career moves while you’re still a student.

How I went from student to beauty editor in less than two years

During college

When I started college (and even when I graduated and got my first job offer), I didn’t know being a beauty editor was even a thing. I knew I wanted to do ~something~ with writing or publishing, but as a first-generation college student, I didn’t have a strong sense of how my English major would actually translate to IRL career opportunities.

Since I only had a vague idea of different media roles, I completed a massive number of internships and writing jobs to make sure I was qualified for basically a little bit of everything. I just wanted options. It was overwhelming, I never slept, and I always forgot to drink water! While having a generous amount of experience made my job search a lot easier, I wouldn’t actually encourage any current student to take on as much work as I did. If you already have it in mind that you want to be a beauty editor, you can start cultivating your professional experiences from the start and be really intentional with your time, instead of having to cast a net a wide net like I did.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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I’m also 100% willing to acknowledge that the biggest reason I was able to land a slot at Her Campus was because I had connections. I was a contributing writer and intern before I got offered a job, and I made sure that the editorial team became so violently obsessed with me on a professional and personal level, that when a position opened up they would turn to me first. Wherever you start to build experience, it’s worth investing time in getting to know people, making a big impression, and solidifying that when it comes to hiring for a role, you’re someone that should be priority.

Once I got the job

I started at HC as the associate editor. When it came time to carve out my career trajectory, having a demonstrable interest in beauty definitely helped me from the start, because it established me as an expert on trends and the go-to person for any larger industry projects. Too, I spent my time catering all my responsibilities to align with a beauty focus. It took more than an extensive skincare collection and swooning about makeup all the time to get this. I had to be a really good writer an editor, have a lot of grace while working with brands, manage projects, meet deadlines, generate splashy ideas, and overachieve pretty much every day.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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I was also very communicative with my supervisors that beauty editor was my next goal. Sometimes when there’s a thing you really want, you actually have to ask for it repeatedly! Taking charge during my reviews and negotiating my way into a beauty role was a really empowering experience, because it helped me to articulate all the ways in which I’m the most incredible, talented genius. Kidding, but also not. When I acted proud of my work and was vocal about it, it made my team proud too, so that they were excited to recognize my contributions and move me to the next level. 

And that’s it! All those millions of things helped me climb the editorial ladder during my post-grad life. The experience is going to look different and non-traditional for everyone, but also holding fast to reliable methods of advancement never really fails either. 

Is the beauty editor lifestyle all that it’s hyped up to be?

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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I get asked all the time by college students how they can get my job. I get it, in a nutshell being a beauty editor sounds awesome and aspirational! But in many ways, it’s also highly mundane, and you’d probably be horrified if you saw how much time I spend just sitting at my desk sorting through Twitter threads that compare Harry Styles and his suits to the different flavors of Glossier’s balm dot com.

I don’t actually sample products all day long or spend hours blogging about my skincare fridge. If you only watch my Instagram stories, it probably looks like that – but real office life is mostly work hard, then play hard sometimes. The bulk of my day consists of editing articles by our team of college beauty writers, because at HC I’m in the lucky position where I get to do a lot of mentoring in addition to just publishing content. I also write, schedule all the weekly posts for @HerCampusBeauty, coordinate giveaways, chat with publicists, connect with our senior editors about strategy, plan for content packages and awards, design my own rudimentary graphics in Canva, answer too many emails, send my coworkers memes on slack, and spend like, 30 minutes procrastinating and looking at pics of dogs snuggled in weighted blankets. I would be lying if I said my life was hard, but I do have a lot of responsibility and a very full plate.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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When I get ready in the morning and unready at night, that’s when I usually test product and live my best beauty editor life. Sometimes I get to spend an entire morning playing with bath bombs and swatching, or I get to join in on a photoshoot for a brand we’re partnering with. But most of the time my life is hustling and working hard to meet our editorial goals.

My three essential tips to make it in media right now:

1. Be inclusive

I think something that set me apart during the hiring process was that I was very aware and sensitive of the audience I’d be working with and creating content for. Being a beauty editor doesn’t mean that I’m just writing about my favorite serums or going on tangents about how good this one foundation makes my skin look. I’m also writing and assigning content that needs to serviceable for women of color, queer women, women of different abilities, first generation college students, broke college kids, and folks whose parents send them an extra $300 every month. The more you can keep inclusive representation in mind when you pitch, pitch, pitch, it’s going to make such a noticeable difference in your work.

2. Be an expert in both editorial and social

Right now, you just can’t have one without the other. When I graduated, I had it cemented in my mind that I’d just be writing and editing for a website. Now I’m managing an Instagram account, posting on Pinterest, and have to well-versed in insights and algorithms for every platform. Why? I can’t just be an expert at creating content, I actually have to get eyeballs on it. When you come to an interview able to talk about the bridge between edit and social, you’re going to have that team impressed with your skills immediately.

3. Social media is your networking BFF

Honestly, I check my LinkedIn messages maybe once a month, and when someone applies for a beauty internship, I’m way more likely to stalk their Insta than I am to read their resume. If you want to get your foot in the door with most young editors, just commenting on their posts, DMing on Instagram and Twitter, and staying in touch via social is a great way to get yourself noticed!

TL; DR: You don’t need a journalism degree to become an editor. You don’t even need to be a beauty expert to make the transition into beauty journalism. But you do need to have strong writing skills, and at least one really solid internship on your resume if you want to land a staff position! The rest comes down to passion and being willing to get your hands dirty. 

Now in its 8th year, Her Conference® is the biggest, boldest gathering of college women globally. At each Her Conference, you will experience up-close interaction with industry leaders and badass keynotes covering everything from media, marketing, and entrepreneurship to entertainment, tech, social impact, leadership, and more. Join us in Los Angeles for Her Conference: Inspire on June 1st, in New York City for Her Conference: Empower on June 22nd, and on the @HerConference Instagram for constant career inspo & advice from amazing career-minded women just like you.

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