I have known several people who ended up with better jobs because they impressed a manager and then the manager left for another company and brought that person on to work for them
Yep, thats usually how it happens. Your biggest salary hikes wont come from your current employer, but from a client or partner who steals you away.
By the way, did you try www.bayt.com?
Has a Middle Eastern focus, but it's worth a try.
Remember that people, being people, make judgements emotionaly, and then justify them logicaly. If you're liked, a million other shortcommings will be overlooked.
Here in the ME networking is actually much easier. Every cousin or second cousin is a contact. Just being the same nationality as a key manager is a plus (and being the national of a country he has it in for a major minus).
And I cant begin to count the number of people I know who got promoted beyound their abilities, because their wives made a great impression on the wives of managers and CEOs. Honestly, it got me seriously contemplating taking the full qouta of four wives, each one a strategicaly chosen nationality (kidding).
Some of the most effective techniques I've seen at networking werent really thought out in advance, but were people just trying to be helpful to others. A guy set up a website to sell used cars in Riyadh, and it got him in contact with all sorts of people, one of whom had a relative working for a major consultancy company. Another just struck up a conversation with a guy trying to buy a mobile phone, and helped him make sense of the bewildering number of options and models. I used to write tech articles, and thought that would help. Nope, didnt. The best contact I made was while attending a celebration for a colleague, whos wife had given birth to twin daughters.
The best advice I was told was, when getting to know people, give a little something first. Help them out with an IT problem, or teach classes. Advise them on their next laptop purchase. Help them with that damn Windows blue screen they keep getting. Simple things really. Let THEM see the benefit in having you as an acquantance, and dont force every certification youve ever gotten down their throats. Someone once said, be liked, and you'll never want.