If you're patient, detail oriented and serious about becoming a video game tester, there are several ways to move forward.
First, if you live in a metropolitan area, it's quite possible there are companies that contract for video game testing services in your area. Check the classifieds. In those cases, you simply fill out an application and wait for a call back. Network with your other gaming friends and try to establish contacts inside the companies. And be sure to use proper terminology. For instance, when filling out your application, try to mention you're interested in finding a job in quality assurance as opposed to game testing. Using the correct terms will signal you're serious.
In some cases, companies will not need your services every day and you must check in -- often on a hotline or e-bulletin board -- to see if you're scheduled to work. Video game testers in these situations often find themselves in the classic role of day laborer, waiting to be called up as jobs become available. In these settings, game testers often work with or near the actual game developers. Let them know you're more than just a gamer -- that you're passionate about improving a game's playability and performance and want to be part of a team.
If you're using game testing as a stepping stone into game design, be sure to make your credentials -- such as a college degree or technical certificate -- known. Dress for the office, not your living room. Show up on time, follow the rules and directions. Be professional.
When you get that first assignment, carefully read the company's instructions for testing the game. The company knows what it wants and you must tailor your approach to playing/testing the game to answer their questions. Executing this assignment is essential to getting others in the future. There are plenty of potential game testers out there and companies don't have the time to fool with one that's not serious or capable of completing an assignment. You won't get a second chance.
If you don't live near companies that do game testing you can look on the Internet for opportunities to test games at home. Be careful! As with anything on the Internet, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Use common sense when evaluating potential employers online.
For lots more information about video game testing and related topics, check out the links on the next page.