An IT job applicant with a history of constantly beefing up his technology and management skills is more impressive to Timothy Stettheimer than a positive referral or a strong face-to-face interview.

"How do you know you're hiring a good person? You can get a referral. So what? Someone can interview well. So what? But when [an applicant] can say, 'I've hit these [IT education] targets,' that shows a commitment to advancement," said Stettheimer, who is CIO at St. Vincent's Health System in Birmingham, Ala.

Lt. Col. Eric McClung, CIO for the U.S. Army's Pacific Regional Medical Command (PRMC), said the ability to demonstrate continual upgrades in IT and management skills is doubly important for people interested in healthcare-related IT jobs in the military, where leadership changes every two to three years.

To continue reading, register here to become an Insider. You'll get free access to premium content from CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, and Network World. See more Insider content or sign in.