The 500-year-old CV template, by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452 in Tuscany; as well as imagining the first parachute, tank and helicopter, he is also considered the father of palaeontology, architecture and of course, one of the greatest painters of all time. But what some of you may not know is that he is credited for writing the world’s first ever CV*. And, 533 years later, it strongly resembles the CV’s we still write to this day!  

What can we learn from Leonardo’s version?

It’s personalised and written specifically for Ludovici Sforzaz, the Regent of Milan at the time, as Leonardo was looking for work in the city. Nowadays we find some candidates fall into the trap of using the same CV when applying for multiple different jobs! You are only shooting yourself in the foot; by tailoring your CV to each application, the chances of securing an interview are much higher.

Leonardo also refers to his capabilities in the way they correspond to the work he could do for the city, demonstrating how he can add value rather than listing his capabilities in the hope that they are a match. This is another thing that over time has been overlooked and, on many occasions, I receive CV’s in application with long lists of duties that aren’t transferrable, nor required! You’re wasting everyone’s time here.  

What could have been better?

Given the resources he had, this was a very bold move for Leonardo and luckily for him, it worked. However, with just the application he was unable to prove that the information included on his CV, was true. Nowadays he would have benefited from creating a portfolio of his work and sending that a long with his application. Think about using professional networking resources such as LinkedIn profiles to demonstrate your skills and ask your network to testify to it! You could also use things like video to demonstrate your capabilities in a more visual manner, particularly if applying for creative positions!

If you need help with your CV and you’re looking for a new job in the property industry, get in touch with the team at GKR London today. We are currently working on a record number of positions working in Property Management, Sales & Lettings, Commercial & Technical, Interior Architecture & Design & Office Support. We are looking for temp and permanent professionals!

Tel: 0207 048 3304
*For those interested to the original version, it was actually written in Latin but see below a translation.

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.