Resume Leonardo Da Vinci

What Can YOU Learn From Leonardo Da Vinci’s Resume?


Resume Leonardo Da VinciLeonardo da Vinci was the ORIGINAL Renaissance Man. Below is a copy of a letter Leonardo sent over 600 years ago to the House of Sforza. Look closely – it’s his resume! Modern day job seekers can learn a lot from Leonardo!

Most illustrious Lord, having now sufficiently seen and considered the proofs of all those who count themselves master and inventors of instruments of war, and finding that their invention and use of the said instruments does not differ in any respect from those in common practice, I am emboldened without prejudice to anyone else to put myself in communication with your Excellency, in order to acquaint you with my secrets, thereafter offering myself at your pleasure effectually to demonstrate at any convenient time all those matters which are in part briefly recorded below,

1. I have plans for bridges, very light and strong and suitable for carrying very easily…

2. When a place is besieged I know how to cut off water from the trenches, and how to construct an infinite number of…scaling ladders and other instruments…

3. If because of the height of the embankment, and the strength of the place of its site, it should be impossible to reduce it by bombardment, I know methods of destroying any citadel or fortress, even if it is built on rock.

4. I have plans for making cannon, very convenient and easy of transport, with which to hurl small stones in the manner almost of hail…

5. And it is should happen that the engagement is at sea, I have plans for construction many engines most suitable for attack or defense, and ships which can resist the fire of all the heaviest cannon, and powder and smoke.

6. Also I have ways of arriving at a certain fixed spot by caverns and secret winding passages made without any noise even though it may be necessary to pass underneath… a river.

7. Also I can make covered cards, safe and unassailable, which will enter the serried ranks of the enemy with artillery, and there is no company of men at arms so great as not to be broken by it. And behind these the infantry will be able to follow quite unharmed and without any opposition.

8. Also, if need shall arise, I can make cannon, mortars and light ordnance, of very beautiful and useful shapes, quite different from those in common use.

9. Where it is not possible to employ cannon, I can supply catapults, mangonels, traps and other engines of wonderful efficacy not in general issue. In short, as the variety of circumstances shall necessitate, I can supply an infinite number of different engines of attack and defense.

10. In time of peace I believe that I can give you as complete satisfaction as anyone else in architecture, in the construction of buildings both public and private, and in conducting water from one place to another.

11. Also I can execute sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay and also painting, in which my work will stand comparison with that of anyone else whoever he may be.

12. Moreover, I would undertake the work of the bronze horse, which shall endure with immortal glory and eternal honor the auspicious memory of the Prince of your father and of the illustrious house of Sforza.

What strikes me as most impressive (and perhaps most instructive for job seekers) is the way in which Leonardo highlighted his talents to meet the needs of his potential employer(s). Leonardo most enjoyed painting and sculpting — it’s what he is MOST known for these days (think of the “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper.”) However, he doesn’t mention that until number 11 in his list! That’s because he knew Sforza was looking for someone who could provide assistance with his military and building affairs.

Did it work? Go to Milan, Italy and you will see that Leo did indeed get the job! What can YOU learn about your job search from Leonardo da Vinci?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Sean Harry

For over 20 years Sean Harry has been successful at helping train and motivate people to find what’s important in life and develop a strategy to achieve it. He accomplishes that even in this competitive job market.


  1. If the good Duke had had a modern ‘Human Relations’ Department, this resume would never have reached him. Any modern HR person would have instantly dismissed it for these reasons:
    – There are some crossed-out lines in letter, writing not neat enough. Is the candidate serious about this job?
    – While candidate’s resume has some of the required keywords (guns, mortars, ordnance, catapults, mangonels, trabocchi), it shows no evidence of past experience with these technologies.
    – Candidate fails the requirement of 5 years exclusive experience with mangonel construction.
    – Candidate does not mention the required 3 years experience with the CAD/CAM package approved and used by the Ducal administration. (I hear he may have been an expert in ‘HANDSKETCH-CAD/CAM’, a package I never heard of, so it must be obsolete. Perhaps he is too old? )
    – Candidate claims expertise in unrelated fields (architecture, sculpture) to pad his resume. ‘Guiding water?’ – a task better left to our civil engineers.
    Conclusion: Discard resume (scan into database, never to be seen again), do not refer for interview.

  2. This cover letter and all of the preceding comments are a good representation of what’s wrong with the hiring process today. If you are versatile and multifaceted you should not have to choose who you will be for any particular position, that’s bs. There is value in everyone’s broad spectrum of knowledge and abilities and in today’s world this versitility is not being honored or respected.

  3. I can’t claim to be anything like as talented as Leonardo but I too am an overqualified polymath and my experience bears out exactly what Rodney says. Even just having degrees in both arts and sciences is seen as a ‘problem’ these days. Publications in both areas is totally unforgivable.
    Lucky old Leonardo to have lived in Renaissance times. How does a polymath find work in the era of post-Fordism?

  4. At present Leonardo wouldn’t be hired: there are no digits in his resume, highlighting his former achievements. Besides where are all the IMPORTANT KEY WORDS here?
    The only reason why he was hired is that Lorenzo Medici was also a genius and a smart enough person to see how Leonardo would help.

  5. This is a cover letter, not a resume. Leonardo is saying what he can do for the House of Sforza. He doesn’t provide any supporting information that shows he has any practical experience doing these things. Although, being Leonardo da Vinci, I’m sure his reputation preceded his letter. Sort of like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs applying for a computer technician job.

    • Yes, he had a hell as a reputation being accused in sodomy and forced to flee to first and than he have been sent as A GIFT to Ludovico Sforza to secure peace between Medici and Sforza. Does a gift need to write any CV?

  6. At first glace, this looks great, but it doesn’t give any examples of how he’s done this before. In today’s resume, this would be the equivalent of listing your job descriptions with no proof of what you actually accomplished.

  7. Modern HR wouldn’t hire him. He’d be categorized as overqualified with a lack of focus. Is this guy a siege engineer or an artist? Instant reject pile.

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