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Student with Autism Writes Cover Letter Asking Employers to 'Take a Chance on Me'

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It can be tough to stand out in a sea of job applicants. Knowing your audience and something about the company, highlighting your talents and using keywords are all important, and yet some people are so consumed with looking perfect on paper that their applications come across feeling a little disingenuous.

Not so for Ryan Lowry of Leesburg, Virginia. Lowry took a chance, writing a letter and posting it on LinkedIn, and — as his father told him — he broke the internet.

“Dear Future Employer,” his letter began. “My name is Ryan Lowry, I am 19 years old, live in Leesburg, Virginia, and I have autism. I also have a unique sense of humor, am gifted at math, really good with technology, and a really quick learner.

“I am interested in a job in animation, or in IT. I realize that someone like you will have to take a chance on me, I don’t learn like typical people do.

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“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.

“Please let me know if you would like to talk about this with me. Thank you.”

The note, straightforward and honest, netted Lowry over 177,000 reactions and nearly 6,000 comments, with many potential employers or people interested in helping him reaching out.

Lowry, who recently turned 20, has his younger brother to thank, too, as it was his idea to pen the note and post it.

“He was going to do it on his computer and his younger brother thought, ‘Why don’t you write it?” Rob Lowry, his father, told CNN.

While Lowry currently works at a coffee shop, his time there will end when he graduates from his post-graduate high school program for special needs children.

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Now, he has a new adventure ahead of him, though he’s especially excited about one company that reached out about a three-year animation program called “Exceptional Minds” that caters to students with autism.

Tracy, Lowry’s mother, is just as excited about his prospects.

“I’m in awe and never thought this would happen over one written letter,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed with joy for Ryan and for it opening a whole topic of conversation among employers to helping … people other than Ryan.”

This breakthrough for Lowry is not only encouraging to his parents, but to other parents who hope for the same sort of opportunities for their own kids.

“Our mission, for however long this thing goes on, whether it’s 15 minutes of fame or longer, is to make something good happen for Ryan, who deserves it and has earned it,” Rob Lowry said.

“I think whoever gets him will win big time, but to also help the other families who are just like us and then finally to help out the organizations that had helped them along the way.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking