The transition from student to employee can be hard. Why?

 One reason is that there’s a huge gap between how prepared recent graduates feel they are to succeed in professional life, compared to how their supervisors feel.

Let’s look at some numbers:


A 2018 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that around 90% of graduating seniors felt that they were proficient in professionalism and work ethic skills. Employers assessed recent grads at a mere 42%!

Similarly, nearly 80% of graduating college seniors thought they were proficient at the oral and written communication skills needed for their jobs. Only 41% of employers agreed.

If you’re a college student or recent graduate reading those numbers, you may be feeling nervous about your readiness to begin your career and your ability to succeed in the workplace.

The good news is that you’re not alone.  The bad news is that this disparity and major mismatch of expectations between junior and senior employees can lead to a very stressful transition from student to professional.

*   *   *
Real talk: The transition from student to professional is always going to be a little stressful.

But I’m here to make it a little bit easier.

 There’s no real substitute for the hard work and the time it takes to learn the substantive skills needed for your job, which you’ll do when you get to work. 

But there are strategies you can implement today to make your work life better. 

Strategies to help with issues like:

“I’m way too busy, but I’m afraid to turn down work without getting into trouble.”

“I have no idea how I’m doing. I hand in assignments and never get any feedback. Does this mean I’m doing well, or that I’m beyond hope and about to get fired?”

 “My attention to detail sucks, and I keep making little mistakes. How can I stop this?”

That’s what Early Career Excellence is all about – helping you thrive in your daily life as a young professional.

Because you’ll find that when you take a little time upfront to organize your calendar, or your inbox, or your brain before diving into an assignment, you’ve got more time and more energy to focus on the substantive stuff. And you’ll spend less time stressing about the logistical things.

And when you don’t spend 20 minutes looking for a document on your hard drive while your boss waits impatiently, because your files are now well-organized, that’s 20 minutes of your personal time you get back.

  And perhaps best of all, when you hand in an assignment that’s exactly what your supervisor asked for, on the deadline they needed (even if they didn’t do a great job communicating their needs to you), you’ve just made an excellent impression and are well on your way to building a stellar reputation at the office.

So what does the course cover? Check out the curriculum below and watch the Intro video for free now!

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Module 1: Introduction

  • 2

    Module 2: Setting up Your Home Life for Workplace Success

    • How Getting a Bit More Organized at Home Can Help at Work

    • Action Steps for Success

  • 3

    Module 3: Professionalism 101

    • What Does it Mean to Be a Professional?

    • Email/Written Communications

    • Phone Etiquette

    • Meetings - What To Do and What Not to Do

    • Dealing with "Big" Personalities (or, Jerks)

  • 4

    Module 4: Create and Submit Excellent Work Product

    • Introduction: Good vs. Excellent Work

    • Action Steps for Completing an Assignment

    • Attention to Detail & Taking Ownership

    • What To Do When You Make a Mistake

  • 5

    Module 5: Get and Stay Organized

    • Introduction

    • Organization: Action Steps for Success

  • 6

    Module 6: Increase Your Productivity & Efficiency

    • Staying Productive & Efficient at Work

    • Quick Tips - When You Need Help Getting on Task Now

    • To Do Lists: Plan your Daily and Weekly Schedules in 5 Minutes a Day

    • Long Term Planning Hack: A 12 Week Year

    • Emergency! Tips to Get Started on an Assignment That Has You Stumped

  • 7

    Module 7: Work/Life Balance

    • Intro: How to Think About Work/Life Balance

    • Managing Your Existing Work

    • Turning Down More Work When You're Too Busy

    • Being Strategic About Taking on New Work

    • Yes, You Can Take a Vacation (Here's How)

  • 8

    Module 8: Managing Up

    • What is Managing Up and Why Should You Do It?

    • Tips to Manage Up

  • 9

    Module 9: Seeking & Implementing Feedback

    • Intro: Feedback is Crucial To Your Success

    • Asking for Feedback

    • Implementing Feedback

    • Performance Review Tips

  • 10

    Where Do You Go From Here?

    • What's Next?

Bonus material

  • Scripts

    Along the way, you’ll get scripts for tough communications – like turning down work while maintaining your relationship with a supervisor. You'll also get example scripts for lower-stakes communications (on which I’ve seen many a junior employee stress), like what to include in your out-of-office email when you go on vacation.

  • Handouts

    You’ll also get checklists and other handouts developed to help you streamline your daily work life and create good habits to last your entire career.


Kelli Lanski

I'm a mid-career professional with years of experience training and mentoring junior employees. I've worked in non-profits, corporations, and for the last decade, as a practicing lawyer, before starting The Career Files LLC, a business dedicated to helping to ease the transition from student to professional. I help young professionals and young lawyers experience less stress and more success at work.

What Are Professionals Saying About My Advice?

  • "Extremely helpful!"

  • "I'm learning a lot!"

  • "Excellent!"


  • Who is this course for?

    College students and young professionals in their first few years of full-time working life in an office environment. The advice is especially geared toward those working in white-collar professions in U.S.-based offices.

  • When does the course start and finish?

    The course is available now and entirely self-paced. You can start it on day 1 or 1,000 of your job. Take as long as you need to finish it and come back to modules whenever you like.

  • What if I think the course stinks?

    I hope you love the course, and I'm confident it can help you at work. If you're not happy, let me know within 30 days of your purchase, and I'll refund you your purchase price.

Free eBook: 7 Habits of Successful Young Professionals

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