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Seeking New Opportunity Project: Meet Ryan Lesley

The mission of the Seeking New Opportunity Project is to educate, inspire, and empower job seekers.

· SNOProject
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Name: Ryan Lesley
Industry: Market Research
From: Indianapolis, Indiana
Favorite Book: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Hobbies: I like to read & cook, I’m a huge history buff (especially Chinese history), and love classic rock.
Hidden Talent: I am really good at knowing useless trivia and random facts.

What does success mean to you?

I always think of the Winston Churchill quote about success,

"Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm."

What is one of your professional goals this year?

Well I’m pretty young in my career, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do in 5 years. I’d like to find out what my strengths/weaknesses are and eventually figure out a path for myself.

What's something that someone said that motivated you during a career transition?

The job search is really hard, especially when you are fresh out of college. I kept seeing my accounting major friends (their recruiting is nice and structured!) get offers and have a plan for the future. I was really happy for them, but it was hard not to compare myself to them.

After graduating in May, I just wanted to move on because I felt like I was in purgatory; not quite in the “real world” but also not in college anymore. My parents were persistent in telling me to not give up which really motivated me and got me through the doldrums of summer.

Looking back at your career transition, what advice would you give yourself?

Don’t be afraid to use your network and don’t burn any bridges. Through my network, I was able to talk to friends, family members, and friends of friends. They all gave me a lot of invaluable advice.

Then one day I noticed a LinkedIn job posting from my old supervisor at a company I used to intern with. I reached out and three weeks later I started my first job after college. It’s definitely who you know not what you know.

What's a mistake you made during the application process?

During my career transition, I submitted about 400+ applications and halfway through one, I must have submitted the wrong application. It probably went into the black hole of application portals. Always double check!

Share an interview mishap.

Well, I know I should have vetted this one company a bit more because it turned out to be a pyramid scheme. It was really early on in my job search (first week) and I didn’t catch on until the interview. I had a weird feeling through it and I should have trusted my gut.

Fill in the blank, in an interview do ___________________ and don’t ___________________.

DO: Be yourself. It seems obvious, but a lot of people put on a face for interviews. You and your potential employer want to mutually find the best fit.


DON’T: Lack confidence. Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but take a breath and have confidence in yourself. You got to the interview because you have the necessary skills, now it’s time to see if you are a fit.

What resources would you recommend to job seekers?

LinkedIn, What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles, and talking to experienced friends/acquaintances/family.

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For more information about the Seeking New Opportunity Project, click here.

If you want to talk about brand strategy, storytelling, content development, project management, and/or marketing communications, drop me a line.