You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it. --Oprah Winfrey

What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you want to be an astronaut, lawyer, model, rock star, or the president? You probably wanted to be many things as you got older. But, the odds are good that you never said I want to be a CPA when I grow up!

There is a fine line between dreaming and finding your dream job. And you may find out that your dream job isnt what you thought it was going to be. Its not hard to dream about the perfect job. The hard part is identifying which real world jobs have the qualities that are right for you, how to get into them and when to turn them down.

Follow these three tips and youll be well on your way to landing your real dream job.

1. Narrow your focus.
What are you passionate about? What gets you up in the morning? Whatever they may be, make a list of these things without stopping until you hit the end of the page. When youve finished, write down your dream job, regardless of money, location, etc. This should focus your interests and help narrow down the career paths to take.

If you need more guidance, there are online career tests available that will suggest what career would match. There are also career counselors waiting to help. Talk to people who know you well; they will likely have an opinion of where you fit in the professional world.

But, what good is knowing what you like to do if you don't know what types of jobs will utilize your skills? Instead of searching by job titles, (marketing, sales, accounting), why not explore what industry you see yourself in? Do you want to work in government, non-profit, food service, entertainment, accounting, education? What do you want to be surrounded by every day?

As you explore different job options, consider the career path of becoming a CPA. Even if you're not passionate about accounting as a whole, you may discover that the CPA profession includes elements you are passionate about. Perhaps you're keenly interested in the workings of the financial world. Or, maybe you really want to help stop white collar crime. Chances are, if you're reading this blog post then the CPA career path offers something for you.

A great way to learn more about a job or industry is to set up informational interviews. Schedule lunch meetings or quick phone calls with people who have jobs you're interested in. Ask them, How do I get to where you are? Get their advice on choices, opportunities, and how to get started. Most of the time people are more than happy to help.

As an added advantage, young accounting students have the benefit of attending Meet the Firms events on their college campuses. These events are great ways to learn more about the accounting industry and to interact with recruiters and CPA firm employees. Even if you're not an accounting student, be sure to take advantage of events and job fairs that will help you learn more about the field(s) you are interested in.

2. Pursue Your Opportunities
Once you know what you want to do, you should start looking for a way to start doing it. The best way is to think of any people you know who are already working in your field of interest. Remember the old saying, Its not what you know, its who you know. Let them know you are available. When a position opens in their company, you'll be at the top of their mind.

If you don't know anyone in your chosen industry, you'll need to use the old fashioned method. Search for job postings and submit your resume.
Most companies use one or more forms of classified listings to advertise job openings. If you have an outstanding resume and enough determination, you can get interviews by using career sites like Monster.com or even craigslist. But, keep in mind that Human Resource offices receive thousands of resumes a day from online sources. To succeed, youll really need to stand out.

If you can get face time, you're already ahead of the game. Otherwise, try going straight to the company's website. They will usually have a link for careers, and many sites allow you to submit your resume online. You may have a better chance of being seen by submitting your resume directly to the company you're interested in.

While you search for an entry into your field, don't forget about your University career centers. They will probably have an alumni page which posts job openings directed towards college grads. You never know when your potential employer could turn out to be from your alma mater.

After submitting resumes, don't get frustrated if you don't score an interview in the first month. The career hunt is a lot like going to the gym. You dedicate a lot of physical effort and time into reaching your goal, but results may not visible for a few months. So, don't quit because it seems like nothing is happening. There are people available for moral support, unlike at the gym, they probably wont be wearing spandex.

3. Weigh Your Options
Even after obtaining an interview, you still may not know if the job is right. Don't sell yourself short by accepting the first company that accepts you. Make sure you feel comfortable and ask yourself if the compensation is sufficient. Do you like the relationship the employees have with their boss, with each other? Do you like the physical surroundings? Will the company treat you with trust and respect? Is the company itself healthy and does it provide you with the right tools to grow? The answers do not all have to be perfect, but weigh them against each other.

So many people end up with jobs they hate. You know the ones. They're the office workers banging their heads against the elevator wall in the morning, or trudging to their dismal cubicles. They're the drive through employees speaking in a monotone over the intercom, or the retail clerks who just cant seem to smile. All of these people spend more time waiting for the clock to signal the end of their shifts than doing anything truly satisfying or productive.

You don't have to end up like that. With some patience, research, and hard work, you'll avoid being one of those people. Learn as much as you can about the fields you're interested in. Narrow your focus, pursue your opportunities, and weigh your options and you can have the job of your dreams.