1. Get a work permit
2. Prepare a resume
3. Network/Talk to friends who are working
4. Apply in person or online
I got a work permit first from my high school, if you don't have one then talk to your school counselor to have them help you fill it out. Many times they have work programs they can suggest (at school or in the community) that fit your requirements based on if you have a car, transportation and available hours. One of my first jobs was in a retail store which offered night and weekend hours and was close enough to my house/school so I walked there.
You'll likely want to create a resume too even though you have limited or no experience, you have more than you think you do. You can include any volunteer work, babysitting, cpr classes, boyscouts, school leadership positions - basically anything that shows you have experience in something. Some examples of experience/skills: working with others, leading others, organization, public speaking, bilingual, computer skills, creativity, writing skills, outgoing personality, perfect attendance, problem solving...
Talk to friends who already have a job and see if it's interesting to you or if they would be willing to introduce you to the manager. Friends referring friends is 100% how most people get jobs - even adults and professionals. Ask what they do, what they like/don't like, what the vibe is - you want your part time job to be a learning experience for your resume but also it should be fun.
Apply in person if possible so they see your face and have a connection to you. This quick meeting/intro can make a great first impression if you are dressed appropriately, polite, and well spoken. Remember that they need you more than you need them - especially this year with so many openings, employers are looking for help in particular at restaurants and stores.
Best of luck!
1) CHECK WITH YOUR HIGH SCHOOL GUIDANCE COUNSELOR
Your High School Guidance Office staff should be able to help you with job listings and job-search advice. There may be a bulletin board with job postings, a notebook with listings, and/or an online job board. They might also have internship opportunities, which may (or may not) be paid, but will give you valuable experience.
2) WRITE YOUR RESUME – Even though it may not be required by employers, a resume can help you stand out from the competition. When determining what to put on your resume, think specifically about your extracurriculars and volunteer history. What have you accomplished that indicates that you’re responsible, reliable, and have leadership skills? Regardless of what you choose to highlight on your resume, be sure to include your educational history: your GPA, current class rank, expected date of graduation, etc. Also, try to keep your resume to only one page. Employers like resumes to be concise and easy to skim.
3) JOB SEARCH ONLINE – Check websites that list local job openings. You can use the job search engines like Indeed.com to search by keyword part-time and your location to find job listings in your city or town. Note that it may take some time for you to hear back after you’ve submitted your application. The standard time to hear back is two to three weeks, but it could be shorter or longer depending on the employer. While you’re waiting, stay calm, apply to other jobs, or start thinking about alternative plans like volunteer work and unpaid internships. Your employer may ask you for an interview. If this happens, don’t freak out and overthink it. The employer is already interested in you — they just want to ask you some questions in person to gauge whether you are the right fit for the job. At the same time, be sure to prepare for the interview. Show up in professional attire, think briefly about how you would answer the most common interview questions, and prepare informed questions for the interviewer on the position that couldn’t be answered by a quick look through the company or organization’s web site.
4) NETWORK – Many jobs come through referrals from people you know, so it's important to let everyone know you're looking for a job. This is where your parents and their friends, teachers, coaches and other adults can be a great resource. Be sure to mention the kind of work you'd like to do, but don't turn down an opportunity just because it's not the perfect job. It might lead to the job you really want.
5) BE FLEXIBLE – Sometimes a job might not be exactly what you're looking for, but it puts you in contact with people or organizations that might help you in the future. Also, don't be too quick to turn down a volunteer position as your first job. Sometimes the best compensation is experience - and future employers love to see volunteer experience on your resume. Check the Child Labor Law regulations in California to see how they apply to you. In order to work legally in some states, workers under eighteen may need to obtain working papers, which are officially called "Employment/Age Certificates." Don't give up if you can't find a job right away Jason. A job search takes persistence and patience. It's important to keep trying, because a potential employer will notice if you have the determination and the drive to find a job.
Good Luck Jason
Since you are a freshman, your options may be limited. I started working in the fall of my freshman year of high school and I was limited to grocery stores and fast-food restaurants since I was only 15. In today's digital world, and depending on where you live, you may have more options than I did. I would look up the labor laws in your area and start searching online for open positions that you'll be able to work.
While you don't want to take away from other responsibilities on your plate, I think working at a young age comes with many benefits. Responsibility, work ethic, managing money, how to file your taxes, etc. At your age, I wouldn't be concerned with finding the perfect job, just a job that you like enough and can teach you those benefits. At your age, you'll just need to submit an application to an open job, interview, and then you will either get the job or you won't.
Best of luck and hope this helps!
In addition to the answers below, try searching for a paid internship. An unpaid internship also might of interest since an internship, paid or unpaid, might lead to a long-term position at the organization or company. Also, try looking for employment that might further your career goals and interests. In addition to earning money, you will invest in your future.
Best of Luck!!