"Cold calling" is a sales term. It means initiating contact by telephone with somebody who has never heard of you--in the hopes of selling something.
In reference to the job market, it means reaching out to someone who may have a job to offer you. Or, as this article wisely points out, reaching out to someone you may be able to help by solving that person's staffing problems.
You don't have to sound like a dreaded robo-caller; some good tips here for keeping your contact both warm and professional.
"Yikes, me, cold-call somebody?" Yes--you. If you stick to these guidelines (don't pester, know what you have to offer and what you want, engage the conversation as a respectful peer rather than a beggar seeking crumbs), the worst that can happen is... nothing. That is, you will not have made a negative impression; you could very well make a positive enough impression that (a) you'll be considered for a job, now or in the future; or (b) your information will passed along to another person who has a job to offer.
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