Leaning into the Layoff: a guide to Your Next Partnerships Role by Aaron Howerton

Leaning into the Layoff: a guide to Your Next Partnerships Role by Aaron Howerton

Aaron was affected by the massive layoffs during 2022 and he shares his experience and concrete advice to get your next partnerships role.

Aaron Howerton lives in Springdale, Arkansas, and it’s a Senior Channel Business Operations Architect at Atlassian. He has been working with Partnerships and Operations for the past 5 years and is the creator of the “Behind the SaaS” podcast. Aaron was affected by the massive layoffs during 2022 and, in this article, he shares his experience and concrete advice to help you get your next partnerships role.

Aaron shares advice on how to get your next partnerships role after being laid off
Aaron Howerton, Senior Channel Business Operations Architect at Atlassian

A positive mindset

For me, a big part of this process is getting mentally ready to connect. I was very fortunate in my layoff because I had a community to pivot into. I also didn’t take it personally – that’s not always the case and it’s okay. If you need time, take time. I think being already involved with the community at Partnership Leaders served as a buffer. It gave me a place to go, work to do and a chance to add value, and for me that’s a big part of it. I didn’t want to take a lot of downtime, so I just kind of rolled with it.

One thing worth noting – I’m not a fan of positivity for the sake of positivity. Life can be tough and unexpectedly losing your income and stability is a bit hit. I believe positive thinking means acknowledging the challenges, choosing to focus on the positive aspects and finding solutions that keep you moving forward every day. Avoid toxic positivity and focus on what feels tangible and real to you. You can do that by finding support in others and engaging in conversations that help you work through your situation.

LinkedIn as an ally to get your next partnerships role

I’m not a big fan of LinkedIn as a platform, overall, as there are tons of features that could help improve the overall experience. That being said, it’s still the world’s leading professional networking site and a great ally. I have always monitored my profile but I’ve not always been clear on managing my ownerall LinkedIn presence with regard to engagement. I’ve been doing a little more this year already and the layoff opened a door for more intentional effort. I paid attention to what others were doing and just replicated what I saw. Ultimately, if you’re new to it (and I still count myself in that group), learning to engage with others is key. Here are my main tips for those that want to do the same:

1 – Engage with others on the platform in a meaningful way

LinkedIn is filled with “growth hacks” and formulas to get a million followers in no time. I respect that but I don’t like to throw away likes or comments just for engagement sake. My advice is to read the content that you find interesting and take the time to comment on something useful. If you want to share it with your network, take some time to work on your thoughts and conclusions. That kind of quality engagement is the best way to build your network and connect with others.

2 – Be transparent about yourself

As you start engaging and creating content on LinkedIn, being honest about who you are and what you value is really important. This was a great part of the process for me, I asked myself “Who do I want to be here? What do I want to do with this opportunity?”, and I brought my whole self to the table. I’m a very direct and transparent human being, so making sure I maintained that sense of clarity about myself has been important in how I write and engage.

3Following specific individuals on the platform

Before you start writing and developing your own content, finding and following thought leaders on LinkedIn is key. This will really help to get the pulse on the industry and you can always use that content to build your own. If you do that, it’s very important to tag them and give them credit. This will not only refer people to the author but also help you build your network. For example, when I’m writing my newsletter and I’m using somebody’s content, I’ll tag them since they are part of the conversation.

If it’s the first time we interact, I’ll DM them and say something like “Hey I saw your post and I’m writing about it in my newsletter, here’s a link”. That will start a conversation and sometimes they will even cross-promote the post. Use the tag appropriately, don’t tag a million people without a purpose. Ask a question, get engagement, start conversations. Intentionality here is key.

4- Keeping up with the content that matters:

The LinkedIn algorithm is strange and inconsistent in my experience. As I was building my LinkedIn presence I found out that the algorithm would sometimes hide content that was very relevant to me. To hack that, I created a spreadsheet with every thought leader that I liked and their activity links. That way when I felt that I was missing something, I could always click and check their latest posts and pull out anything that I found interesting. The link looks something like this:


  1. Create a Spreadsheet in Excel or Google
  2. Set Column A as LinkedIn Profile link of the person you want to follow
  3. Add this formula to Column 2: =Concatenate(A1,”recent-activity/”) 
  4. Copy the formula down the column 
  5. Every time you drop a new profile link you’ll get the activity link in Column

Investing in yourself

This activity has had a huge impact on my journey so far. In just a few short months I’ve managed to shift my professional narrative in really positive ways.

  • I had three job interviews and two offers inside four weeks of being laid off 
  • I landed quickly in another competitive partnerships role at a major tech company 
  • I’m adding new contacts within my space almost every day. 
  • Follower growth is organic and daily, increasing my reach.
  • I’m hosting weekly office hours around my expertise
  • I’m writing weekly articles for publication at PartnerHacker alongside my own newsletter
  • My podcast, small at is it, is developing a consistent listener base that keeps me going back to it. 
  • I’m starting a monthly connection point specifically for people in my space with 20+ people already looking to get involved, most of whom I have never met. 

The market and the industry are always changing and I know that I could end up in a similar place down the road. While taking the time to build your platform is important , maintaining it is essential. I may not know exactly where things are going to land in the future but I’m confident that the investment of time and energy in my own voice will continue to pay off.

Additional notes:

  • You are welcome to reach out to Aaron on LinkedIn – mention Partnership Leaders in your connect invite.
  • You can check out and subscribe to his newsletter here.
  • Aaron also hosts exclusive “Partner Ops Office Hours” for Partnership Leaders members. Ping him on the #partner-ops-and-programs channel and register for the next session.

Are looking for your next career opportunity? Check out our Open To Work channel and Job Board to find your next partnerships role.

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