Ryan Lowry, a 20-year-old man from Leesburg, VA, is determined to start his career on the right foot. To kick his job search off, Ryan posted a handwritten cover letter to his future employers on LinkedIn, describing what field he aspires to work in as well as some of his strengths. Since sharing the letter two weeks ago, Ryan's powerful missive has gone viral, and job opportunities have started to pour in.
"I have autism," he wrote after introducing himself. "I also have a unique sense of humour, am gifted at maths, really good with technology, and a really quick learner."
Ryan also explained that he's an incredibly hard worker and willing to learn just about anything. "I am interested in a job in animation, or in IT," he said. "I realise that someone like you will have to take a chance on me, I don't learn like typical people do. I would need a mentor to teach me, but I learn quickly, once you explain it, I get it. I promise that if you hire me and teach me, you'll be glad that you did. I will show up every day, do what you tell me to do, and work really hard."
Amassing more than 176,000 reactions and nearly 6,000 supportive comments at press time, Ryan also received more than 2,000 invitations to connect on the platform. Ryan's parents — Rob and Tracy — are incredibly proud of Ryan and have been willing to help him along in his job search.
Image Source: Tracy Lowry
"Ryan was talking about animation for the last six or seven months, and he wanted to write a letter to animation companies worldwide that he's researched," Tracy told POPSUGAR. "And my husband was like, 'Why don't we just write a letter and teach [Ryan] to use LinkedIn?' We just wanted him to make business relationships and make 50 contacts, and then it went viral. It's been amazing, overwhelming. It has been beautiful."
"We would love Ryan to land a job with a mentor that where he can grow within a company."
Tracy hopes that wherever Ryan lands, he will have a symbiotic relationship with his employer. "He's independent," she said. "He has a hard time communicating [sometimes], but he's extremely bright. He's gifted in maths, music, and he's familiar with computers. He catches on extremely quickly. We would love Ryan to land a job with a mentor where he can grow within a company. We also really want Ryan to provide value for the company."
Ryan has touched base with companies like Dell, Amazon, and Microsoft — which all have neurodiversity recruitment programs designed to bring more value to their businesses — and is still sifting through all the helpful information he's gotten over the last few weeks. "The story behind the story is that we've gotten so much support and advice, we're now trying to organise it all in a spreadsheet," Tracy explained. "I cry at night when I read the comments people have left. It's been so overwhelming."
Given the outpour of support, Tracy hopes that other young adults can feel inspired, particularly because 85 percent of college graduates who have autism are unemployed in the United States. "We're not just helping Ryan," she said. "I hope we're opening up a door to help other adults like Ryan. If that happens, we have done a really good thing."