During apoptosis, executioner caspase activity has been considered a point of no return. However, recent studies show that cells can survive caspase activation following transient apoptotic stimuli, a process named anastasis. To identify a molecular signature, we performed whole transcriptome RNA sequencing of untreated, apoptotic, and recovering HeLa cells. We found that anastasis is an active, two-stage program. During the early stage, cells transition from growth-arrested to growing. In the late stage, cells change from proliferating to migratory. Strikingly, some early recovery mRNAs were elevated first during apoptosis, implying that dying cells poise to recover, even while still under apoptotic stress. Furthermore, TGFβ-induced Snail expression is required for anastasis, and recovering cells exhibit prolonged elevation of pro-angiogenic factors. This study demonstrates similarities in the anastasis genes, pathways, and cell behaviors to those activated in wound healing. This study identifies a repertoire of potential targets for therapeutic manipulation of this process.