A few weeks ago, in my office, they organized a conference by a "spanish" woman under the name of Pino Bethencourt. She is the writter of "El exito en seis cafes" or "Success in 6 coffees". I havent read the book and I didnt know the woman until that day, but according to the people that were in the conference, they say, she explained the importance of networking, how to well manage the contacts that you have during your life in order to obtain some mutual benefit.
My point of view.
It is true that you can loose a job because you did not show formal enough when interviewing with the manager of the department you applied to.
It is true that you can loose the opportunity of opening your own company because you did not have enough money.
It is true that you can loose a job opportunity because the person in charge was your colleague at the university and you did not get along.
So, those 3 things: cash flow, presence and networking are very important.
But I would like to focus on networking... 3 months at Madrid, and I managed to enter a global company because I knew someone from my hometown that was nice enough to enter my CV. Moved from one department to another, because someone knew of a vacancy and knew that I was looking for new challenges. Got hired 8 months ago, because someone knew my work and trusted me enough in order to recommend me.
Network is VERY important, it is something that one work each and everyday. It is the smile you give the other person, even in times when you dont mean it.. But it is there, and it can be the push you need to reach that something you have been dreaming of.
Networking is the cigarrette you smoke with your colleagues at 11, or the coffee you drink at 9, or the lunch you have at 14. It is chitchatting, a total vanal conversation, as well as a very deep conversation on how you hate mingling with everybody, or how you love working for your company, or how you hate the morning conversations when in the train to work.
But the MOST important thing is.. to be smart enough to understand all of this and to take action. Is it easy? Probably not, but I bet is worth it... It has been for me.