Sheree Hamilton decided to reinvent herself at the age of 67. Her life was full of experience. Originally from Houston, Texas but raised in East St. Louis, she had a diverse upbringing which helped her fit right in when she joined the Army where she served for four years in the 1980s. As life continued and she got married, she felt that her calling was in healthcare, so she earned a phlebotomy certificate. She settled into Belleville, Illinois, but unfortunately, Sheree could not find a job. At her age, she felt that age discrimination was quite rampant, so she enrolled in business school and at the same time, she researched how she could find her way back into the workforce. Enter National Able Network’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).
“National Able Network was very willing to help me with any avenue that I needed help in,” says Sheree. She credits her career coach, Bruce Adams, with helping her throughout the program. She says, “Bruce presented himself as a person that was there to help me progress. He was a person that always gave me encouragement and that listened to what I needed from the program.”
While in the program, Sheree not only was able to practice the clerical skills she wanted to perfect, but she was able to participate in JUMPSTART! workshops. Sheree specifically mentions one workshop that showed her how to write her resume in order to get past the online application tracking systems. “I didn’t know anything about the computer, but I had to learn [Microsoft] Word, how to go to a program, how to script your resume…I learned to look at what the company description is looking for and then mimic that in order for them to even look at it!” She continues, “…I loved that. I learned how to do a resume to the point to where it would go to the company’s hiring manager, and I knew they would hire me. Because once I get in front of them, I know how to sound and sell myself.”
As she continued in the program, Sheree soon applied for a job that fit her career goals. “I applaud National Able Network. I was happy that I successfully did it and…now I’m the receptionist at the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department.”
Sheree had this advice to share with fellow seniors who are in job search, “Come there [National Able Network] with an open mind. All that other stuff that you’ve done and all that frustration and all that anger – throw it out! It’s not going to get you anything! Just come there with an open mind, with a plan and succeed.”