And many job seekers defer that dream, especially when jobs aren't plentiful and accepting any job at all seems like a good idea...

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A dream job often is just that — a dream.

And many job seekers defer that dream, especially when jobs aren’t plentiful and accepting any job at all seems like a good idea.

But now may be the time to follow your dream.

“Your dream job is out there and now is the best time to get it,” advises Deborah Brown-Volkman, a career coach based in East Moriches, N.Y. “The job market is starting to pick up, people are being interviewed, people are getting hired — and as a result, job seekers do not have to be afraid anymore.”

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Brown-Volkman, president and founder of Surpass Your Dreams, is the author of several career books and gives an e-program called Career Escape. She believes that you now can “dust off your résumé and begin to find a new job. But not any job, your dream job.”

Though optimistic, Laurie Kahn, chief executive officer and co-founder of All About Careers, a consulting and training firm for corporations and individuals, is more pragmatic:

“You may have to take a job that’s not your dream job, but you should look for a job that will help you eventually get it — a job to increase your skills and experience for that dream job,” said Kahn, who is based in Chicago.

She also is president of Media Staffing Network, a staffing firm that specializes in media sales and associated areas.

“But it is possible to get your dream job today,” said the executive, who has been in career counseling since 1993. “To do so, you have to think outside the box. You have to do your homework, assess your skills, do the right networking — and know what your dream job is.”

Identifying your dream job is the first step toward achieving it, Kahn emphasizes.

“Sit back and figure what makes you happy, what you do in your leisure time that you enjoy,” she said. “Think about your hobbies, or a special talent, something you really excel at — look at those things and think, is there a business side to them, what could I do that would use those skills?”

The career counselor says a college senior is looking for a dream job that involves food, dance and event planning — her special interests. Kahn’s advice: “Start out as a volunteer at a nonprofit dance company to get the experience you need.”

A talented athlete’s dream job is to do “something” in sports. The jock now is selling ads for athletic teams and sporting events for a radio station.

Dream jobs are not an obscure fantasy. “Every day, I hear about mature workers who have been lawyers forever and then leave the law and become a chef — that’s their dream job,” said Kahn.

To get a dream job, you might have to make some sacrifices, Kahn said, such as earning a reduced salary, having to relocate or to work different hours from your present ones.

Kahn previously worked in sales management and became “very frustrated” after 15 years. “And then the best thing happened: A new manager came in and fired everyone.” That was her chance to devise her dream job.

“I started my own business and now I have my dream job,” she said. “I’m creative, I help people — and no one can tell me what to do.”

E-mail questions to Carol Kleiman at ckleiman@tribune.com. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.