We all read the stories and watch the YouTube videos; Secret societies control the world - you have to be a member to be a success.
Don't believe it. But I'll admit there is some truth in there.
Imagine you want to get in good with a venue owner or booker or media person. You have to realize a lot of them know each other. They are part of an interdependent group. It's not a secret society... there are no secret handshakes that I know of, but they will be more comfortable with you when you are a member of their club - so to speak.
Before you get upset think about this; you don't consider someone a fellow musician just because they bought a nice guitar. You evaluate them usually based on what someone else says, and you can be pretty hard on newbies.
The people you want help from do the same thing.
For every good show you may get a point. Do a lot of great shows and there are more people who can vouch for you. But if you have a bad night or do something stupid like show up late or get drunk, take away several points. Remember, you are trying to have enough people say good things about you to be in their "club". It's a vetting process. Everyone has to go through it.
The only shortcuts are getting to the people who have the most influence. But even then you have to be careful. Never make anyone feel like you are elbowing past them. You want as many people as possible to feel they played a part in your success.
When someone asks about you, what are they going to hear? What kind of impression did you make on the people you worked with already?
Will they want you in their club?