HOW I LANDED MY DREAM JOB

List requested by @lilyzuccaro. I am very excited to write this list!
  1. 1.
    Identified my dream job. Said it out loud. Many times
    I decided I wanted to work as a food writer about halfway through my junior year of college, and immediately began doing everything I could do set those wheels in motion: shitty personal food blog (embarrassing, but it taught me a lot... and you don't become a better writer without writing), reading writers I admired, applying to culinary school... Admittedly, I also spent a lot of time just daydreaming what it'd be like to be a food writer.
  2. 2.
    Went to culinary school
    Because I had already attended a four-year college, I wanted the culinary education experience to be as streamlined and efficient as possible. I attended the French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center) in Manhattan three nights a week from 5:45 to 10:45. During the day, I worked in corporate catering and at a cheese and charcuterie shop. The way I saw it, I needed *something* to give me an edge as a writer. An actual, practical knowledge of cooking seemed like the answer.
  3. 3.
    Worked as a line cook
    This was the era of thigh sweat, much crying, and learning how to arrange herbs on a plate using tweezers.
  4. 4.
    Freelance-wrote for years
    Some personal-life ish brought me back to my hometown, Syracuse, where I attempted to eke out a career in freelance food writing. Turns out, freelance food writing is a very hard thing to do in Syracuse. I was mostly a receptionist.
  5. 5.
    Became a farmer (wait, what?)
    Wait, how is THIS relevant? My year and a half spent cooking on a full-diet, draft-powered CSA farm informed my cooking style and ethos far more than my time in culinary school and restaurants ever did. It was there I leaned exactly what sustainable and small-scale agriculture is really about--and how to relay that to the greater public.
  6. 6.
    Moved back to New York City
    When my time on the farm ended (okay, when my dreamy farmer boyfriend dumped me), I refocused ("Oh, right; I'm a writer with no professional goals in farming outside of this romantic relationship..."), rebooted and moved to a city where I'd actually find more and more relevant opportunities.
  7. 7.
    Got a job in digital editorial, albeit not in food
    I didn't want to move without a job, but the food editorial world wasn't exactly knocking down my door. Instead, I took a job as an editor at a dating and relationship advice website. While the content wasn't relevant to my career interests, I learned an incredible amount about working as an editor in the digital landscape.
  8. 8.
    Kept my ear to the ground for relevant opportunities
    I scoured Mediabistro, Good Food Jobs, Condé Nast, Hearst, Time, and more for job openings--and applied to just about every one. I got very proficient at edit tests. Each rejection got chalked up to an experience-builder. I also took pride in the knowledge that I had a unique point of view--farming--to offer. That helped set me apart. This period was much less stressful than it could have been because I wasn't in dire straits--I already had a good job that was paying my bills.
  9. 9.
    Networked (Ugh; gross word but it's true)
    I've always found "What can I learn from you?" to be a much more useful question than "What can you do for me?"
  10. 10.
    The edit test to end all edit tests
    A friend who was already working in the food editorial industry alerted me to an open position at bonappetit.com, and I immediately reached out. After an edit test that I completed in four hours and half a bottle of wine, and three subsequent interviews, it was official: I joined BA (on The List at @BonAppetit!) a staff writer, and have since transitioned to Senior Associate Editor. 🎉
  11. 11.
    Questions?
    Happy to elaborate on anything. Leave 'em in the comments.