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Finding a Career After Prison

Reporter: James Gherardi

Danville, VA - While it's hard these days for everyone to get that paycheck, it's much harder for those who have spent time behind bars.

"Being in prison changes people. You can either come out and be a better man or you can be worse," said David Davis who spent 20 months in prison.

He now works as a floor employee at PreServe Services in Danville.

"I've got two sons that I help take care of, and I help take care of my mother and, you know, I need to be able to provide for my family," said Davis.

Florence Jones-Via recruits employees at PreServe Services, a company that isn't shy about hiring those with a rough past. Many of the employees at PreServe have a history of being incarcerated.

Jones-Via knows what they have gone through. She struggled to find work after prison.

"Then, I went to another company that hired me, but in the midst of my training, their policy changed so ex-offenders were no longer welcome in their business," said Jones-Via.

But she says PreServe helped give her a new life.

"I'm also working with the ex-offenders to show them that there's hope after prison, so there is life," said Jones-Via.

"Anything that's not great in your past, whether it's going to prison, you want to state that I take responsibility for what I've done, I've learned from it and now I've moved forward," said Petrina Carter, director of Averett University's Career Services.

Experts say when applying for jobs, it's imperative to show employers that you've changed. A resume is the perfect document to showcase all that's good about you.

"The resume is a highlight of the things you've done in your life. So you want to highlight those things that are great and spectacular about you," said Carter.

And those who have been there say confidence is a must.

"You're going to find something sooner or later, just keep your head up. Always walk in looking professional and keep a smile on your face," said Davis.

Experts say lying on a resume or application is far worse than being honest about your past. Employers would much rather someone tell them the truth than hire a liar.

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