Last night, I attended a career seminar at the university where I work. I was interested in gleaning tips to share with my students, and I’m considering the next step in my own career as well. I heard many good ideas at the seminar, but one in particular stuck out to me.

A student in the audience asked the panel of speakers how to narrow down his career options. This student had been researching future careers the way most of us research most things today: the internet. He felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information he’d found. How could he learn more about careers that might suit him? How could he narrow down his options?

A professor on the panel replied, with a wry smile, “Less Googling, more talking.”

The internet is an amazing tool, but it’s rarely the best tool for answering complex, highly personal questions. Like reading the right book at the right time, a well-placed conversation can save you weeks, months, or even years of searching.

After you’ve done some preliminary research, start talking to real people as quickly as possible.