Do you hear that sound? It’s your future knocking. Have you done everything you can to show that you’re ready? You’ve worked extremely hard in school, took all the right classes, grew as a person and a budding professional. With just a bit of work, you can now look as impressive online as you are in real life.

If you are a college student or graduate, there is no better time to get started on LinkedIn.

What’s that you say: LinkedIn is really just Facebook for old people? Not at all. Yes, there are many experience professionals on the site and, yes, many of them are older than you, but you would be limiting your own opportunities to allow this perception to keep you away. LinkedIn is the place to be for current and aspiring professionals.

What’s that you say: You heard that there is no reason to set-up a profile on LinkedIn until you are ready to look for a job? Hmm…Following this line of reasoning would be the same as waiting until you are hungry to think about stocking your entirely empty kitchen. (OK, maybe that isn’t the best example, especially for college students, but you know what I mean.) Your future has already begun; why would you not pull out all the stops to prepare for it seriously?

During the course of your college career, you will be making connections and building that all-important network which will support you for years to come as your career blossoms. The inspiring professors, the quirky grad student teaching assistants and that really smart kid whose only downside seems to be that she consistently and inexplicably gets the highest grade in the class – all of these are people you should consider connecting with on LinkedIn. Once out of school, you never know who might be able to connect you to your next great opportunity and who you will be able to support in kind. Your network is growing daily, even without you knowing it. Just think what might be possible if you actually had a plan to manage and grow it intentionally.

Your LinkedIn profile will become your professional presence online, making it easy to find information about your background, skills, who you know and who has recommended you. Not only is this of critical importance once you graduate, but imagine the advantage it might afford you as you apply for internships and scholarships while you’re still on school.

Time to get on it. I know you take your future seriously, but looking like you take it seriously is every bit as important. It is just one more way to stand out in the crowd. Knowing this, why would you not get started on LinkedIn right now?

Other helpful LinkedIn resources which may be of interest…

More great LinkedIn tips from Almost Savvy

Tips from the LinkedIn blog for graduates