Leonardo da Vinci seems to have written the first Resume/Cover Letter on record. In 1481, he wrote Ludovico Sforza looking for work. He seems to have conducted considerable research on the needs of his potential employer prior to putting pen to paper.

[I’ve modernized the language a little.]

Most illustrious Lord Sforza,

I understand you are seeking a Military Affairs Building Projects Leader. As the inventor of numerous weapons of mass destruction, I am prepared to defend your honour. Given that I am the original Renaissance man, in times of peace I can create beauty in both Art and Craft. My skills are briefly summarized below.



  • Skilled designer of very strong but light bridges. They are sturdy, fire-resistant and easily portable.
  • Possess ability to burn and destroy enemy bridges.
  • If under siege, can drain the water from moats and construct temporary covered bridges or scaling ladders.
  • If necessary, able to to destroy rock fortresses.
  • Able to manufacture ready-to-carry lightweight mortar and smoke bombs.
  • Knowledgeable in the design and creation of secret underground passageways – even under a moat or river.
  • Created design of an army tank able to penetrate enemy ranks.
  • Make fire-throwing engines of beautiful and practical design.
  • I don’t want to brag, but I can create pretty much any kind of land machine you might need.
  • Ditto at sea.


  • Exquisite architectural design of public and private buildings as well as aqueducts to carry water from source to bath.
  • Sculpture marble, bronze and clay / best painter in town.
  • Would love to immortalize you in bronze. A horse would be ideal.

Please contact me at your earliest convenience. I look forward to hearing from you soon. I’d be happy to give you a demonstration prior to employment.

Leonardo da Vinci

Needless to say: He got the job!

What are the lessons for you?

1)   When drafting a Resume – ALWAYS focus on the needs of the employer.

2)   If your preference is to follow your passion – Self-employment might be your best option – especially if you have artistic tendencies. You could also try to find a Patron of the Arts.  They are a bit more elusive these days.

Which of these is da Vinci best remembered for?