Here is a sad truth: some people never really leave high school. Even as adults you will still find them hanging out and spreading the latest gossip with their friends. The problem is that no matter how they go about it, a workplace gossip is absolutely killing their own career. It is one thing to spend a few minutes chatting about the latest ball scores or last night's "Castle" episode, or to discuss the co-worker who has just returned from maternity leave, in a positive manner. It's quite another thing altogether to be dishing the dirt on anyone or anything at work without any thought to their feelings.
Here is the truth: no one really trusts a gossip. If you pay close attention, you will see that their careers are going nowhere fast. Now, what does this have to do with you as you are hunting for a new job? The best resume and cover letter in the world is not going to change what your boss has to say about you when he or she is called about a reference. If you think that your boss either does not know you are a gossip or is not going to say anything about it, you're completely wrong. Your boss will mention it to your potential employer and it will hurt your chances at a new company.
Gossips are rarely liked and it is even more rare that they are trusted with sensitive material. More importantly, being a workplace gossip means you have two character traits that employers absolutely loathe; you have the potential to cause discord in the workplace and you waste time when you should be working. Gossip often harms people and damages relationships. This is obviously very bad for the work environment. An employer needs to hire people who work well together and a gossip can often bring out the worst in people, not the best. Now, the wasting time issue is obviously self-explanatory. You are being hired to do a job. You are not being hired talk about people behind their backs.
So, the question is what do you do if you have been the go-to person for the latest dirt? Here is my advice. Knock it off now. After just a few weeks, people will completely forget all about your past as the ultimate gossip and you can start to build healthier and non-gossip based relationships with your co-workers.