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10 Completely Wrong Ways to Write a Cover Letter

Load It Up With Personal Info

A job certainly isn't all about your professional skills. Maybe that's why some job applicants think it's a good idea to tell hiring managers all about their hobbies and personal lives in cover letters. They believe this lets potential bosses see what regular -- interesting, even! -- people they are. They might even toss in nice photos, too. After all, looks are important.

But those aren't good ideas at all. First, it's considered inappropriate to disclose such personal information as age, marital status, race and religion unless it's directly related to the available position [sources: Smart Biz, Work Source]. For example, if you're seeking employment at a Catholic church, then yes, you can mention you're a practicing Catholic. Otherwise keep quiet. Same thing with personal interests. Don't blab on in your cover letter about how you're a talented runner who wins a lot of races. It's not the appropriate time unless you're applying to lead a running class at a fitness club. Once you get to an actual interview, though, it's a different story, at least when it comes to hobbies. Be prepared with a strong answer if asked about your pastimes, as some hiring managers view an interesting use of free time as a sign you'd be an active employee [source: Sundar].