Even Leonardo had to Write a Resume'

One would think that Leonardo da Vinci, the guy who invented the helicopter, created the most famous picture of man (you know the guy in the circle holding out his arms), and painted the Mona Lisa, wouldn't have to create a resume', but then one would be WRONG!  Before da Vinci was the toast of Renaissance Europe, he was a nobody, a student, just like you, and just like you he had to send out a resume' or two.

Marc Cenedella posted a translation of DaVinci's resume as follows:
“Most Illustrious Lord, Having now sufficiently considered the specimens of all those who proclaim themselves skilled contrivers of instruments of war, and that the invention and operation of the said instruments are nothing different from those in common use: I shall endeavor, without prejudice to any one else, to explain myself to your Excellency, showing your Lordship my secret, and then offering them to your best pleasure and approbation to work with effect at opportune moments on all those things which, in part, shall be briefly noted below.

1. I have a sort of extremely light and strong bridges, adapted to be most easily carried, and with them you may pursue, and at any time flee from the enemy; and others, secure and indestructible by fire and battle, easy and convenient to lift and place. Also methods of burning and destroying those of the enemy.

2. I know how, when a place is besieged, to take the water out of the trenches, and make endless variety of bridges, and covered ways and ladders, and other machines pertaining to such expeditions.

3. If, by reason of the height of the banks, or the strength of the place and its position, it is impossible, when besieging a place, to avail oneself of the plan of bombardment, I have methods for destroying every rock or other fortress, even if it were founded on a rock, etc.

4. Again, I have kinds of mortars; most convenient and easy to carry; and with these I can fling small stones almost resembling a storm; and with the smoke of these cause great terror to the enemy, to his great detriment and confusion.

5. And if the fight should be at sea I have kinds of many machines most efficient for offense and defense; and vessels which will resist the attack of the largest guns and powder and fumes.

6. I have means by secret and tortuous mines and ways, made without noise, to reach a designated spot, even if it were needed to pass under a trench or a river.

7. I will make covered chariots, safe and unattackable, which, entering among the enemy with their artillery, there is no body of men so great but they would break them. And behind these, infantry could follow quite unhurt and without any hindrance.

8. In case of need I will make big guns, mortars, and light ordnance of fine and useful forms, out of the common type.

9. Where the operation of bombardment might fail, I would contrive catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other machines of marvellous efficacy and not in common use. And in short, according to the variety of cases, I can contrive various and endless means of offense and defense.

10. In times of peace I believe I can give perfect satisfaction and to the equal of any other in architecture and the composition of buildings public and private; and in guiding water from one place to another.

11. I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay, and also I can do in painting whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may.

Again, the bronze horse may be taken in hand, which is to be to the immortal glory and eternal honor of the prince your father of happy memory, and of the illustrious house of Sforza.

And if any of the above-named things seem to anyone to be impossible or not feasible, I am most ready to make the experiment in your park, or in whatever place may please your Excellency – to whom I comment myself with the utmost humility, etc.”
What can you learn from da Vinci?  Well, one thing that Cenedella points out is how da Vinci does not just give a laundry list of what he has done.  He talks about what he can do for a specific employer, in this case the "Most Illustrious Lord."

It appears this Lord fights a lot, which da Vinci addresses, by talking about portable bridges, bombs, and artillery. But da Vinci also recognizes that life is about more than war and "In times of peace" he can "give perfect satisfaction" when creating "architecture" and "sculptures in marble, bronze, or clay."  If that isn't enough da Vinci can accomplish "painting whatever may be done."

So what is the point here?  Sales!  You have to sell yourself and you have to let a prospective employer know what you have to offer.  This is another reason why you can't just have a single resume' that you send out to every company on the planet.  By addressing specific "needs" an employer may have or want, you can stand out from the 1,000,000 other resume's that hit the HR department's in box.

How do you find out those needs?  Look on the company website.  What are their current projects?  What does the job posting ask for? Think about your dream job at your dream company and answer this:  What do you have to offer?


  1. Leonardo's list is very impressive. I wonder how many people had to use resumes in this time. Was he just tooting his own horn or was this completely serious? I bet he also had a very impressive list of resumes. I especially like his final point, if you weren't impressed, I could also sculpt you.

  2. I found this rather interesting. As explained in this blog, individuals have to up-sell themselves by not listing qualifications or task that one did in the past, but to show what you bring to the table. Reason being, you may have been an essential part of the last company you were employed by, but that doesn't mean what you did there will be needed where you seek new employment. It has to do with proving that no matter what your future lies with the company, you are needed because, you can bring new possibilities to the table. Also in the blog it talked about not just having one resume, but multiple so you can relate to different companies needs.

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  4. After reading this article, I've learned that employers have a tendency to see people only as docile, unquestionable supporters for their cause. Through this, I've come to believe that we live in a world where we are only capable of interpreting others' abilities through what they are able to broadcast as their image. An employer will only consider hiring an individual if their submitted resume can describe the worker's image as an obedient and competent person in a most simplified fashion. However, a worker can easily falsify their image to mold and fit themselves into the work environment, just to pander to the employer's best interests. To support this idea, this article made note of how da Vinci panders the employer by identifying him as some sort of divine being, and claims to protect this holy entity with state-of-the-art architecture and advanced military defenses. I understand employers are terrified and anxious of failure, which is why they only bother to read resumes that imply the worker is capable of a reliable expertise, and fits their intended image for employment.

  5. I like the way Da Vinci sells himself and I believe that the more precise resume the better fit for both the employer and the future employee. If we take time and research what the company we want to work for does and what we can offer to it we might avoid future misunderstandings and expectations when our vision is different from the company's. To me, it seems that when not just listing skills but explaining our ideas of potential contributions we are getting a step ahead in specifying our personality and differences from other applicants.

  6. Building the right resume doesn't just consist of what you have accomplished already. You as the prospective employee have to know the company you are applying at "like the back of your hand". you have to know what they are looking for and what you can bring to their company that other can not.
    I have almost finished reading a book call, "Land Your Dream Career" by Tori Terhune and Betsy Hays. Tori and PR graduate and start up business owner has gone through a lot interviews and internships and is very knowledgeable about how to achieve and excel in these career events. Betsy Hays is a Professor of Journalism and Public Relations at CSU Fresno and has been teaching both for almost fifteen years. The reason I bring them and their book up is because they give great strategies about how to excel in college so that when you are applying for a career job you have already built your resume and can have skills and experience that the other applicant may not have coming in.

  7. This article is very interesting because I never imagine the infamous Da Vinci to have to sell himself. It goes to show how you have to sell yourself in order to get the job you want. In high school, my teachers would tell us to make multiple copies of our resumes so we can hand them out if needed. I took that advice and applied to varies jobs, however I didn't get any replies back. Now knowing that I have to tailor my resumes to each specific job, I am more confident about obtaining a job. My dream job is to become a teacher so instead of mentioning any customer service jobs, I can focus on the jobs that I had working with students over the summer. Not only will this cut the information in my resume in half, but the employer can get straight to the point. Like Da Vinci, he made sure to mention everything that the Lord would consider in hiring him. As young employees, we should follow under his footsteps and research the job we would like and tailor it to their liking.

  8. Leonardo DaVinci's resume is not much different than what is used today. However,the language he uses makes the job he is applying for seem very romantic and perhaps even more glorified than his actual job responsibilities. The format for his resume resembles a similar format that many applicants use currently. The first paragraph is in a sense a cover letter, addressing his future employer and why he wants to work there. The following bullets begin with his most recent/ relevant work history. The last few bullets list other skills that he has showing that he is a well rounded candidate. A resume is a very small window that allows your employer to take a quick glimpse at who you are. I believe being specific and using similar language from the job posting helps to get noticed. Perhaps following up with a "thank you for looking at my resume letter", wouldn't hurt. If the employer hadn't really looked at your resume, he/she may be tempted to take a second look.

  9. This article can really help someone who is struggling to figure out how to set up their resume to send into a job that they're Appling for. One key point that I noticed from Da Vinci's resume is that he points out the specific things he can do to help the Lord(Employer). When someone is writing a resume they need to think about the place they're applying for and express in they posses that would best contribute to the position. This is really going to help me, because previously I would not even think about the employer and I would just list the things I am good at. Now that I know how to set up a solid resume hopefully it will put me in a better position to get the job I want. Da Vinci helped path the road for people in the future to not think so much about themselves but to think about what the employer needs and what they can best offer to the job.

  10. Just by reading the introduction to his resumé or would be known as the "objective," it's very different from how we format our resumés today. Da Vinci writes down his abilities and his objective in a very poetic way, unlike our straightforward work experience. I have made the same mistake as others where I just listed things I've done and what I am good at and never really thought about the employer until recently. I have learned to emphasize certain experiences when applying to certain jobs. For example, I applied to a grant writing internship and in my cover letter, I emphasized my experience writing for the newspaper and listed relevant writing classes that gave me the skills for the job. It was really interesting to see how resumés were written in da Vinci's time.


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