Cityscape includes a feat, Primary Contact, that includes as a benefit
Choose one skill associated with the organization to which your contact belongs. You gain 1 bonus rank in that skill (even if doing so would put you above your normal maximum ranks for that skill).
This is the only effect in the entire game that directly and explicitly allows your skill ranks to exceed your normal maximum.1 That means, in theory, you can take a feat or enter a prestige class a level sooner than you otherwise could, if the only thing blocking you from that feat or prestige class was a certain number of ranks in one skill.
There’s just one problem: it’s only 1 rank, and it doesn’t permanently increase your maximum in that skill, so you only have greater-than-normal ranks for the level you take the feat. That means you can’t take advantage of it to select a particular feat unless you get Primary Contact the same level you want to take the target feat, nor can you use it to enter a prestige class early unless you gain Primary Contact exactly one level before entering the prestige class.
Since you don’t naturally get two feats in a level, and most prestige classes require 8 ranks and therefore you want to gain Primary Contact at 4th when no feat is available, you need to gain Primary Contact as a bonus feat. But nothing I can find lists Primary Contact as an available bonus feat.
So then, how can you gain Primary Contact when you need it, before 5th level, so that you can gain early access to a feat or prestige class? Note that, while a common houserule, officially you do not automatically get to choose a different feat when you gain a bonus feat you already have.
Anything that abuses bonus HD and/or psychic reformation, retraining, DCFS, or similar is out, since if we were going that far we could just skip Primary Contact altogether.
- Every other approach involves bonus HD (e.g. from inspire greatness) to increase your maximum, and then some way of assigning new skill points during that effect (e.g. psychic reformation, undead or warforged bard to ensure inspire greatness is always in effect so you level up under it, etc.). This is RAW-legal, but extremely dubious in my opinion.